Florida is one of those states which doesn’t prohibit texting while driving. With our congested roadways and heavy traffic here in Orlando, drivers must pay attention to other vehicles and keep their eyes on the road to avoid automobile accidents. The Institute recommends that texting and dialing a phone number should always be avoided. “Headset” cell phone use is not necessarily safer than “hand‐held” use because the distraction is created by other cell phone tasks that require your eyes to be off the road, like looking for phone numbers in your contact list or dialing. On the other hand, true hands‐free” phone use, such as voice activated systems, are less risky if the driver doesn’t have to take their eyes off the road. As a new generation of cell phone users who have grown up texting start to reach the driving age, texting while driving could become an epidemic causing more traffic accidents and deaths if the problem is not addressed. For more information about this study, see the Institute’s Press Release.
A study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reveals that drivers who send or read text messages while driving far surpasses the dangers of other driving distractions, like talking on a cell phone. In the study, the Institute put video cameras in cabs of long-haul trucks over an 18 month period and found that when drivers texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting. The Institute also measured the time drivers took their eyes off of the road to send or receive texts. In the time it takes to look at a text message, or about five seconds, a driver covers more than the length of a football field. That’s a lot of time for an automobile accident to occur. Fourteen states around the country have already banned texting. The remaining 36 states have not passed laws, citing too little research into how texting affects driving. (See New York Times – “In Study, Texting Lifts Crash Risk by Large Margin”).