By: Allison Lane
The Transportation Department banned commercial drivers of interstate buses and trucks over 10,000 pounds, from text messaging while operating commercial vehicles. President Obama signed an executive order prohibiting all Federal employees driving government owned vehicles or with government owned equipment, from texting and driving.
Studies have shown that drivers who text and drive are six times more likely to get into an accident. Research shows that a driver’s reaction time is decreased by thirty percent when the driver is texting and driving, versus a nine percent decrease when the driver is talking on the phone and driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s research shows that a driver who is texting and driving takes his or her eyes off of the road an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting. This correlates to driving, without looking at the road, for the length of a football field, including end zones, at a speed of 55 miles per hour.
This prohibition is effective immediately and will result in harsh penalties including civil or criminal penalties up to $2,750.00. Prior to this prohibition, the District of Columbia and nineteen states ban all drivers from texting and driving, and ten other states restrict novice drivers from texting and driving.
The number of accidents that have been caused by texting and driving is unknown, because the police have not been required to keep track of it. However, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 80 percent of accidents are caused by driver inattention. This inattention is continuing to increase with the use of cell phones and texting while driving. A survey revealed that 60% of teenage drivers, text and drive. The Transportation Department is concerned that it will be a difficult law to enforce, however, they have joined with safety advocates to create FocusDriven. This organization will be similar to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, to lobby against cell phone use and texting while driving.
Do not text and drive.