How can we prevent over one-fourth of the carnage on our roads? The National Safety Council says we can do that if our nation's drivers will stay off their cell phones while they are behind the wheel. It is startling that only 5% of crashes involving cell phones are related to texting while over 20% are linked to mere talking on hands-free or handheld phones. The longstanding thought was that texting led to more accidents.
In the end, maybe it does because the time spent texting is usually much less than the time spent in the typically longer voice calls on cell phones. When it comes to the ratio between time spent in the activity and the number of accidents that occur as a result, texting may be more deadly per second than voice calls, but the fact remains. Returning to voice calls, the thought is that drivers get so focused on their conversations instead of the details of driving that they lose focus on the road and the cars ahead of them.
Whether texting or talking, distracted drivers crash a lot more than other drivers who are paying attention to traffic and how it is flowing. State laws differ so widely on requirements that it's impossible to list all laws, but some generalities may give useful guidance to drivers. 42 states today prohibit drivers from text messaging. Over 20 prohibit school bus drivers from using cell phones, and 37 ban cell phone use by novice drivers. 12 say "no" to driver's use of hand-held cell phones. As of now, no state has a complete ban on cell phone use while driving, but that may ultimately happen, and all states' laws incorporate at least some of the nuances just mentioned.
Logically, texting creates the most distraction, so if you get a text and feel the need to reply, it's a good idea to pull over. Otherwise, one runs the risk of encountering a personal injury lawyer later. Despite that chilling thought, good news is at hand. What age group texts more than others while driving? Teens, of course. To stop that, pay a few cents for cell phone apps that eliminate the driver's ability to text while in motion. MobiLoc for iPhones and DriveOff and DriveMode can shut down their texting and save their lives. It's not too late today to pay their small price to avoid paying a much higher price later.