Driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).1 The federal agency reports that sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent — when traveling at 55 mph — of driving the length of an entire football field while blindfolded.2
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Texting in cars and trucks causes over 3,000 deaths and 330,000 injuries per year, according to a Harvard Center for Risk Analysis study.3
Texting while driving a vehicle has now replaced drinking while driving as the leading cause of accidents and deaths of teenage drivers.4 Texting in traffic isn’t simply a problem among teens and 47% of adults admit that they text while driving.5 Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash than non-texting drivers.6
|State Texting Banned while Driving7|
|New Mexico||No 10|
The proportion of alcohol-related traffic crash deaths has dropped 52% since 1982, and are now at historic lows, but the proportion of traffic accident fatalities that are NOT alcohol-related has jumped 78% during the same time.14 Although there are still far too many, we’re winning the war against alcohol-related traffic deaths. But texting-related traffic fatalities are epidemic and we’ve barely begun to fight the problem. Indeed, it appears that people are barely aware of it.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) could be of enormous help in the struggle, but has not only shown no interest but has repeatedly resisted any discussion of this major cause of traffic crashes, injuries and deaths.
Fortunately, there’s also good news. A survey conducted by NHTSA found that 90% of drivers support laws to ban texting while driving.15 A survey reported by Nationwide Insurance found that 80% of drivers support some type of cell phone usage restrictions. The majority of respondents say they are supportive of laws restricting any type of cell phone use while driving; 80% support a ban on text messaging while driving; 80% support a ban on e-mailing while driving; and almost 75% believe that restrictions should apply to all drivers, not just specific groups such as teens.16