ABC World News (7/27, story 5, 2:05, Gibson) reported, “There’s a new study out today that shows that texting while driving is by far the most dangerous driving distraction. The 18-month study was conducted with long-haul truckers but researchers said the high risk associated with texting applies to all drivers.” Researchers found that while texting, drivers “are 23-times more likely to crash.”
NBC Nightly News (7/27, story 8, 2:15, Williams) added that “14 states and the District of Columbia now ban texting while driving. But it could be tough to enforce.” Other “studies have shown that reaction time and steering ability were worse while texting than while the drivers were actually drunk. But a new survey of drivers by AAA reveals while almost all of them see texting as just as frightening on the roads as drunk driving, more than one-fifth still do it anyway.”
In a front-page story, the New York Times explains that the study, performed by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, followed drivers in “the cabs of long-haul trucks with video cameras over 18 months.” The study is currently “undergoing peer review and has been submitted for publication in the Journal for Human Factors.” It “also found that drivers took their eyes off the road for around five seconds when texting.” The New York Times also describes the study’s methodology in a text bar.
Meanwhile, the AP compares the 23 times greater risk of collision while texting to a six-fold increase while “dialing a cell phone or reaching for an electronic device.” Researchers “recommended that texting should be banned for all drivers, and all cell phone use should be prohibited for newly licensed teen drivers. Fourteen states do ban texting while driving.”
Jackson: Texting while driving should be banned. In a column in the Boston Globe, Derrick Z. Jackson writes, “Studies since 2003, such as the one that says that driving while talking on a cellphone is like driving drunk, are persuasive enough for [President] Obama and [Transportation Secretary Ray] LaHood to announce far more serious policies. Currently the Highway Traffic Safety Administration merely suggests that drivers “refrain” from talking on cellphones. The science cries out for a nationwide ban.
From the American Association for Justice news release.