Text Messaging Dangers Behind the Wheel

By: Michel Mason Email
By: Michel Mason Email

An everyday task for many could have played a role in a deadly train crash. As that investigation continues in California, some are thinking twice about sending text messages behind the wheel.

One wireless trade group says 75 billion text messages were sent in June alone. That's a 160% increase from just one year ago.

Folks we spoke with Tuesday admit to using their cell phones behind the wheel, but many said texting is where they draw the line.

"You have to take your hands off the wheel to text. For me it's not as easy as some of the teens that know where the letters are," said Brian Blair of Hazard.

"I've tried it while I'm driving a few times and it's just really dangerous because there's no way you can be aware of your surroundings," added Pearl Campbell.

A Nationwide Insurance survey of more than 1,500 drivers found 40% of those between 18 and 30 admit to texting while driving. Police say it's a growing concern.

"If you've got your attention split between which button to push and whether to turn left or turn right, or put on your brakes, then it's a huge concern," said Hazard Police Captain James East.

Police warn hands-free cell phone devices aren't always safe either.

"They need their undivided attention on the roadway because things can happen in a split second," added East.

Five states have gone as far as banning text messaging or the use of cell phones while driving. Seven other states have bills pending that would ban text messaging behind the wheel. There are some who question how such laws could be enforced.

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