Five states in our country now outlaw the use of hand-held cellphones while driving. There are 21 states that prohibit the use by new drivers (in NC it’s under age 18)and a third of the states deny hand-held cell phones by school bus drivers (including NC). This information, as posted by the Governors Highway Safety Association, highlights the concern by law enforcement of cell phone and texting distractions.

All drivers are banned from text messaging in 14 states (NC included), with 10 of the states restricting new license holders from texting while driving. Crash data collection,from police reports and survivor and witness interviews, shows that driver distraction can greatly increase the risk of an accident.

In a study released this week by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the dangers of driving a long-haul truck and texting were capitalized. There was a six times greater risk of a crash or near crash when the driver was texting or dialing a cell phone — when his eyes were off of the road. Drivers were aware of video cameras and software in their trucks for these studies and the researchers could see the near-miss scenarios and actual accidents that occurred. To read more information about the study, read it here.

As noted in one article, the ever-present “ping” of an incoming text or the ring of a cell phone can be difficult to ignore, but it may just save your life. Think about it. Focus on the road and don’t be a multi-tasking overachiever.

This article was written by Chip Permar