Articles Tagged with texting

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shutterstock_542928041-300x200We all know the dangers of texting and driving. With so many public service campaigns warning us, how could we not? But knowing and acting are two different things.

You’re behind the wheel of your car, paying close attention to the road. Then you suddenly hear the tune of your choice for your text message alert. Hey, it could be your boss, your spouse, your child – someone and something important. What do you do? Chances are, you do what most people do – read the text. And if the message is important enough, what’s the next thing you do? You respond, of course. Texting has become so popular in our culture, it often replaces phone conversation, even for those of us middle-aged and over.

But the facts remain. Driver distraction is a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents each year, with texting taking the lead for that statistic. To date, fourteen states plus the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving. Numerous U.S. Senators are currently attempting to pass a bill to ban texting nationwide. In spite of these measures, drivers still text away, causing wrecks, injuries and countless deaths.

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New Study – Phones May Be The Single Most Important Factor In Causing Car Crashes

A $70 million study funded by the US Transportation Research Board and conducted by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute concludes that cell phone usage could be the single greatest cause of car accidents today. The study monitored over 3500 drivers in cars equipped with video cameras and other sensors and revealed drivers doing many things in addition to driving such as finding a suitable radio station, checking text messages and notifications, interacting with passengers and other things not related to driving. The study concluded that distracted driving doubled the risk of car crashes overall and distracted driving behaviors occurred approximately 50% of the time.

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Angel Reyes Blog - Texting and Driving Now Worse Than Drinking and Driving

Distracted driving has been around as long as driving itself. Whether it is children crying or fighting in the back seat, a puppy jumping around on a driver’s lap, or simply taking one’s eyes of of the road to tune the radio, distracted driving has been the cause of countless motor vehicle accidents and fatalities. It’s just in the last five to ten years that distracted driving has become the number one cause of motor vehicle accidents surpassing driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition, distracted driving is the number one cause of death in young people under the age of 33. The primary reason for the surge in distracted driving accidents is the explosion of smart phone usage and using your device to send and receive text messages and receive and review notifications.

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textdriveThe city council of Denton, Texas has banned texting while driving. The new regulation still allows talking on a phone while behind the wheel.

Some residents urged members of the governing body to prohibit all use of cell phones while behind the wheel. The issue raised a furor among some of those in attendance at the meeting. Gilmore Morris resigned form the Traffic Safety Commission, saying the Council did not go far enough in banning cell phones from the roads.

“You have shown no fortitude in dealing with this deadly problem,” Morris said.

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texting-drivingTexting while driving now kills more teenagers than driving while intoxicated. Over 3,000 teens died in 2013 while they tried to send a text message when they were behind the wheel of a car. Approximately 2,700 teenagers died as the result of driving while intoxicated.

The Centers for Disease Control recently conducted a study, in which almost half of teenagers admitted to texting while driving.

Teens who admitted to sending and receiving text messages while behind the wheel also reported engaging in other risky behaviors as well. This includes driving under the influence of alcohol. Teenagers who texted while driving were five times more likely than others to drive after drinking. Young people engaging in the risky behavior were also found to be more likely to not wear seat belts.

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no-texting-signTexting and driving is now against the law in Farmer branch, Texas. The City Council there passed a resolution forbidding the practice in the city outside Dallas.

The town, with a population of 28,600 people, becomes the third municipality in northern Texas to pass such a law.

Drivers in Farmers Branch are now forbidden from using handheld electronic devices to send, receive or write email or text messages while behind the wheel. Social media and posting of pictures and notes is also off-limits under the new ordinance.

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shutterstock_1245274481-300x200In order to begin to comprehend the issues surrounding distracted driving, it’s important to get a view of the bigger picture. Consider this:

23% of all car accidents reported in 2011 are attributed to the driver using a cell phone in some capacity: talking, texting, browsing, and even playing games.

During that same period, 3,331 people died in car accidents that are attributable to distracted drivers. This doesn’t necessarily relate to the use of cell phones, but encompasses all driver distractions.

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Savannah-nash-300x167I’m not sure even where to start writing here. As a mother I was heartbroken to hear the news of the young sixteen-year-old girl named Savannah Nash who died this weekend as she ran her car into a tractor-trailer — an accident that investigators have found most likely was caused by her texting while driving. I cannot imagine the grief her parents are going through, but I can imagine that they likely warned her not to text and drive. I also realize young people rarely think anything bad will happen to them. I was young once too, and I know I didn’t always listen to warnings of danger either.

Now as a parent, my greatest fear is my children not listening to me about the dangers of distracted driving,although I warn them regularly. In fact, just last week after blogging about the staggering statistics of the dangers of texting and driving, I shared with my children the information I learned, hoping that if I continue to remind them enough, they will understand the serious nature of this issue. Specifically, I told them as we were driving down the highway at 55 mph that if I sent a text at that exact time it would be the equivalent of my driving the same speed blindfolded down the length of a football field. I figured it was a statistic they could understand.

I never imagined that so soon after, I would be following up that conversation with the news of young Savannah Nash’s driving accident. The fact is that however difficult it was for me to tell them about what happened or to write about it now, I hope that if I remind people to wait to answer that one text or email, everyone will understand.

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stop-texting-300x200According to a recent article in the Texas Tribune, texting and driving may become illegal later this year and rightly so.  Most of us are guilty of looking at texts while behind the wheel. For some reason, we’re unable to resist the temptation.  For some, there’s a misconception that a phone call can wait, but a text requires an immediate response.

And then there are those of us who would never text and drive.  But with voice-to-text technology that transcribes your spoken words into text form, we’re totally safe in doing so, right?  Wrong.  A new study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute finds that voice-to-text technology is just as dangerous as texting while driving. Coincidentally, this study was released while lawmakers are determining whether to pass House Bill 63, which would be a Texas-wide ban on sending text messages.  Many Texas cities already have their own bands in place.  This bill has already passed the House and the Senate will now vote on it. Two years ago, the bill was passed but Governor Rick Perry vetoed it.  According to Perry, the bill was “a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.”  This past March, he was quoted as saying “The key to dissuading drivers from texting while driving is information and education, not government micromanagement.”

The lead author of the study said that new technologies such as speaking into a phone don’t protect drivers from having accidents. The study involved 43 research subjects who drove cars on a closed course.  The first time they drove, they did so with no distractions.  Then they were required to perform several activities, including texting, and voice-to-text technology.  Results indicate that driver reaction times were nearly two times slower than the baseline condition, no matter which texting method was used, according to the study.  Eye gazes to the forward roadway also significantly decreased.  Despite these findings, drivers perceived that they were safer using the voice method of texting.

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