Texting while driving is dangerous. Really.
The news here, however, is exactly how dangerous it is. Apparently, if you text while you drive, you are six times more likely to become distracted and cause an accident. It is, apparently, the biggest distraction while driving, according to some studies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts all cell phone use, including texting, at the top of the list.
According to the NHTSA, distracted drivers are responsible for nearly 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes in the United States. Other distractions: reaching for a moving object inside the vehicle, looking at an object/person/happening outside of the car, talking with passengers, eating, reading, applying makeup, anger, fiddling with radio or other controls and getting lost.
On the plus side, a whopping nine out of 10 people responding to a Harris Interactive Poll in August 2008 said they believed texting or sending e-mails while driving was dangerous.
"Driving while changing the radio is distracting enough, let alone taking your eyes off the road to type even a short sentence or two," said MSMS president Richard E. Smith, MD, a Detroit obstetrician/gynecologist. "It's very dangerous."Thirteen states ban texting while driving, and six have laws banning the use of hand held phones while driving. Michigan has neither law on the books, but state Sen. Samuel Thomas introduced a bill in the Michigan Senate in March that would fine people $100 and charge them with a civil violation if, while driving, they were "engaging in nonverbal communication with another person, playing a game, or entering data" with their cell phone.