The latest evidence that texting while driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving comes from Virginia Tech.
This past Monday, the school’s Transportation Institute released data showing that truck drivers who used cell phone to send text messages from behind the wheel had a 23.2 percent greater risk of getting into an accident than did undistracted truckers. Texting took drivers’ eyes off the road for an average of more than 5 seconds at a time.
What is most alarming is that the Virginia Teach researchers collected data in real-world situations. They put cameras in cars and trucks and actually recorded drivers focusing more on their cell phones than their driving. The tapes showed that reaching for and dialing phones also significantly raised risks for traffic accidents.
Virginia and several other states have banned texting while driving. Some federal lawmakers are also pushing for a federal ban on behind-the-wheel texting.
Outlawing texting while driving is a good start toward reducing people’s distractions behind the wheel, particularly truckers’. However, as I’ve learned from many years representing victims of accidents involving trucks, getting cell phones out of drivers’ hand is just one solution to keeping everyone safe on the roads.