Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"I remembered being so shocked that someone could be so selfish and irresponsible and kill my husband," she says.

NPR did a story today about texting while driving. Read it! Everyone thinks they can text while driving but it is more dangerous than drunk driving. Utah has the toughest law in the nation on texting while driving:

"If you are just caught texting while driving, it can be up to three months in jail and a $750 fine," says Brent Wilhite, program director for Zero Fatalities, the state's public campaign against distracted driving.

"And if you kill someone, it's up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine," he says.

University of Utah psychologist David Strayer tracks eye movements while people text and try to drive. He says people really do take their eyes off the road — often for the same amount of time it takes to drive the length of a football field. Imagine doing that blind. And the cognitive distraction is part of what makes it so dangerous.

"In terms of accident risk, you're more likely to be hit by someone who's text messaging than someone who's drunk," Strayer says. "And that's a pretty alarming statistic."

In fact, his research shows that texting results in impairment levels double that of drunken driving.


vdg family said...

Yipes, I had no idea. That is crazy. No texting for me--unless I stop the car first.

hanner said...

Did you hear the follow-up story yesterday? The girl they interviewed was despicable. (Maybe that's too strong of a word BUT SERIOUSLY.) She was 17 when she got in her first texting while driving accident and shattered her ankle AND broke her arm in half. Then during the interview she kept saying, "It's so addicting--I have to limit myself to one message every five minutes" (!!!!)... and THEN, 6 months later (or something like that) she gets in ANOTHER accident--she slammed into the back of a semi.

I'm not sure who I'm more disgusted with--her for being so flippant about it, or her parents for letting her keep her phone AND driving privileges.