AUSTIN (KXAN) - The popularity of cell phones comes with some unplanned consequences. Talking and texting on your cell phone while driving is linked to an increase in distracted driving accidents.
"Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger and bystander safety," said U.S. Government Website for Distracted Driving.
KXAN is a sponsor of the "XtheTXT" campaign to heighten awareness of the dangers of texting while driving. As we get closer to the start of the school year, KXAN will be reaching out to schools and other organizations in an effort to spread the word.
Distractions that take your attention away from the road go beyond texting. Some other distractions are:
- Using a cell phone or smart phone.
- Eating and Drinking.
- Talking to passengers.
- Reading, including maps.
- Using a navigation system.
- Watching a video.
- Adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 player.
Texting while driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it requires manual, cognitive and visual concentration from the driver.
In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, said drivers who text, are six times more likely to cause an accident than intoxicated drivers.
This scary statistic is perhaps because when texting, the driver's steering capability goes down 91 percent.
According to the Government Website for Distracted Driving, 3092 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2010.
The most serious offenders who are more likely to drive while distracted are drivers under 20 with 16 percent of all distracted driving crashes.
Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 4.6 seconds.
Driving at a speed of 55 mph, that's driving the length of an entire football field without looking said Government Website for Distracted Driving.
Texas State laws has banned all cell phone use including talking and texting, of bus drivers while on duty, novice drivers and has banned all cell phone use in school zones.
Safe Driving Systems, LLC. , a Utah-based company, developed a device to disable drivers' phones altogether.
It plugs into your car's computer, sending a signal to stop all incoming and outgoing calls and text messages except emergency numbers. The product is out already for as low as $50.
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