Texting While Driving
Distracted driving to now believed to be deadlier than impaired (drunk) driving as the leading cause of crashes and fatalities across the United States and Canada. Academics who study the issue believe that phone texting is the deadliest of driving distractions. Studies indicate that phone texting cause more deadly crashes and fatalities than the act of dialing a cell phone while driving. Drivers who read or write text messages while operating vehicles are 23 times more likely to be in a crash than non-distracted drivers, according to a study at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
According to statistics compiled by the Institute for Highway Safety, 11 teenage drivers die every day while texting in the car. The National Safety Council has documented 1.6 million car and truck accidents that were caused by texting while driving. In a study commissioned by Ford Motor Company of Canada in 2013, researchers found that teen drivers are apt to engage in riskier behavior as they age. 16 or 17 year old drivers were more likely to follow the rules of the road (71%) than their 18 or 19 year old counterparts (48%).
Any attempt to ban cell phones in cars and trucks is probably a waste of time. Rather, the auto and truck industries should develop a truly hands-free system that requires at most one push of a button. In that way the driver can maintain his or her hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.