Texting while driving – as bad as putting on mascara while driving!

Texting while driving – as bad as putting on mascara while driving!

Texting has grown from nearly 10 billion messages a month in December 2005 to more than 110 billion in December 2008, according to CTIA, the cellular phone industry’s trade group in the USA. NZ’s government is on the cusp of banning texting while driving, and now it’s being called for in the USA.

In the USA the legislation would require states to ban texting or e-mailing while operating a moving vehicle or lose 25 percent of their annual federal highway funding. It would be patterned after the way Congress required states to adopt a national drunken driving ban.

Independent reports have shown that texting and driving is actually more dangerous than drunk driving. In a study released recently, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that when drivers of heavy trucks texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting! 23 times is quite a considerable risk increase!

As is the course of politics, there are arguments for and against making it a law. The most fervent argument against is that it would be almost impossible to police, therefore many people will not be convinced they’ll be ticketed. Those advocate for a hard-hitting educational campaign to make drivers aware.

But education won’t work for years as some people are just incredibly ‘immune to learning’. Rates may reduce, but like drink driving (which is very socially unacceptable now, and against the law), there will always be those who think they can get away with it. You need a mixture of law, education and technology. The only solution is to fit cars with sensors that detect where a driver is looking. If the driver takes his/her eyes off the road for too long, then the car would sound a warning. This would also get around the problem caused by other distractions such as putting on mascara, eating a mince and cheese pie, reprimanding kids, and changing the radio station.

Texting has grown from nearly 10 billion messages a month in December 2005 to more than 110 billion in December 2008, according to CTIA, the cellular phone industry’s trade group in the USA. NZ’s government is on the cusp of banning texting while driving, and now it’s being called for in the USA.

In the USA the legislation would require states to ban texting or e-mailing while operating a moving vehicle or lose 25 percent of their annual federal highway funding. It would be patterned after the way Congress required states to adopt a national drunken driving ban.

Independent reports have shown that texting and driving is actually more dangerous than drunk driving. In a study released recently, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that when drivers of heavy trucks texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting! 23 times is quite a considerable risk increase!

As is the course of politics, there are arguments for and against making it a law. The most fervent argument against is that it would be almost impossible to police, therefore many people will not be convinced they’ll be ticketed. Those advocate for a hard-hitting educational campaign to make drivers aware.

But education won’t work for years as some people are just incredibly ‘immune to learning’. Rates may reduce, but like drink driving (which is very socially unacceptable now, and against the law), there will always be those who think they can get away with it. You need a mixture of law, education and technology. The only solution is to fit cars with sensors that detect where a driver is looking. If the driver takes his/her eyes off the road for too long, then the car would sound a warning. This would also get around the problem caused by other distractions such as putting on mascara, eating a mince and cheese pie, reprimanding kids, and changing the radio station.

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