If you’ve continued to text while driving, especially if you live in a state that’s passed legislation to ban texting while driving, you’ll have to drop the habit. According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting while driving is six times more dangerous than drunk driving. And it’s that same Administration that is now leading the effort to crack down on texting drivers. So put those phones away or a hefty fine might be in your near future.
The police in North Dakota put $40,000 towards the texting crack down in their state last month. Those funds led to a record month of 114 texting tickets (at $100 apiece, so it’s an investment well paid off) compared to the 18 tickets issued in total between 2011 clear to march of 2014. So how’d they do it? Hiding your phone around cop cars won’t solve the issue any longer – since now unmarked cars with casually dressed officers will bring the $100 penalty to unsuspecting drivers. Plus, that’s only a portion of the $424,000 the state has received to fund it’s anti-texting efforts. Since it’s a method that’s worked so well in ND, the undercover texting cops are expected to spread throughout anti-texting states. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has put aside $8.5 million to give to states in an effort to enforce texting-while-driving laws.
And really, due to statistics, it’s time to take some action against texting and driving. The data from the NHTSA study shows that sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent – when traveling at 55 mph – of driving the length of an entire football field while blindfolded. From there it isn’t difficult to understand why texting drivers are 23 times more likely to get into a crash than non-texting drivers. It’s become the most common cause of teen accidents.
If you weren’t sure of how serious enforcement is about banning texting while driving, just ask the New York MTA driver who was suspended after a bus patron snapped a video of him in the act of texting. A big ‘oops’ that could cost his job. The message is zero tolerance.
The truth is, it shouldn’t need to be an enforced law to keep people from texting while driving. After a quick glance at the figures it’s clear that texting while driving is an accident waiting to happen. Steer clear of email and social media as well. A sad reminder comes from Courtney Ann Sanford who died in a crash seconds after posting, “The happy song makes me HAPPY,” on Facebook.