Cell phones are such a part of everyday life for many Americans that most no longer think about pulling a mobile phone out to send a text or message; it’s just natural. Unfortunately, the tendency to just send text or reply to them is dangerous when driving.
Many states and cities are working on bans that would prohibit texting while driving and some are calling for a nationwide ban on the practice. A study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 1-in-4 teen drivers admit to texting while driving. Analysts believe the number is much higher than what is being reported.
Reuters reports that even if a nationwide ban on texting while driving were introduce, most teen drivers would not stop texting. Texting is so ingrained into the life of teens that they simply will do it any way according to one teen interviewed by Reuters named Karen Cordova. She said, “Nobody is going to listen.”
One of the problems is that for police to write citations for texting while driving they have to catch the driver in the act. Catching people talking on the cell phone and driving is easy to do, but if the driver is texting with the device in their lap things are much more difficult.
The California Highway Patrol has issued 163,000 citations to drivers for talking while driving on the phone, but issued only 1,400 citations for texting and driving.
Fran Clader, CHP spokesman said, “The handheld cell phone is relatively easy for us to spot, we can see when somebody has their phone up to their ear. But with the texting it’s a little bit more of a challenge to catch them in the act, because we have to see it and if they are holding it down in their lap it’s going to be harder for us to see.”
One teen interviewed by Reuters said he only stopped texting while driving after his cousin was in a serious accident while texting.
Steven Bloch from the Automobile Club said, “What I would say is that texting and cell phone devices have become such a component of life for teens and for young people that it’s hard for them to differentiate between doing something normal and doing something wrong.”
Texting and driving is very much like other risky behavior that many engage in when young. Young people tend to feel like nothing can happen to them, that it will always be there other people who have accidents or get caught. Cordova said, “By the time they pull you over, the chances are you are going to be done with your text anyway so they can’t exactly prove that you were texting.”
A graphic commercial aired in the UK to help stop texting and driving showed teens in an accident caused by texting and driving.
President Obama recently signed an executive order banning federal employees from texting while driving.
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