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The Dangers of Texting While Driving

There are many dangers to texting while driving. Today we're talking about the distractions and hazards of driving while you text.

We have all seen it (or done it) - a driver weaving back and forth, driving through traffic signals, and you see the person looking down at a cell phone and typing away.

Texting has become one of the primary sources of communication, and its usage continues to increase. Texting may be a good alternate means of communication, but we all owe it to ourselves and those around us to do so responsibly.

"Distracted driving" has become an increasing problem. There are three primary types of distraction according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road;

2. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and

3. Cognitive: taking your mind off what you are doing.

Distracted driving includes not only texting, but also eating, talking to passengers, grooming, and changing the radio station. While all such distractions can endanger roadway safety, texting is the most dangerous because it involves all three types of distraction. In 2009, 5,474 people were killed, and an additional 448,000 were injured, in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted driving. Drivers who use hand-held devices are also four times as likely to get into an accident that causes them injury.

It's clear that texting while driving poses a problem, but the question remains - what do we do about it? In January, 2011 the Department of Transportation issued a federal texting ban for truckers, providing for fines of up to $2,750.00 for truck drivers who text while driving a commercial vehicle. Despite several bills presented in the Florida Legislature to prohibit texting while driving, no such bill passed.

We must all take the logical, common-sense initiative to make our roads safer by practicing what we all seem to preach. If we agree that texting while driving creates a serious threat to our safety, and the statistics surrounding distracted driving supports this belief, we all must vow to not to text while driving. This may seem simplistic, but keep that commitment in mind the next time you are driving and have the urge to pick up your phone to send a text message. We are confident that the intended recipient of your text would prefer to wait until you stop driving to receive it, rather than run the risk of causing an accident. Much like drinking and driving, texting and driving don't mix.


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