By: Brian Crockett
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That Text Can Wait
Texas doesn’t ban texting and driving statewide…
…and Houston isn’t one of nearly 40 cities in Texas that have made texting and driving illegal.
Yet, one-fifth of fatal crashes in Houston alone are attributed to distracted driving, with most of that being cell phone usage. Studies show that you are six to 23 times more likely to be involved in a car accident texting and driving. The average time it takes to look at a text is 5 seconds, which is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field blind at 55 mph.
Physiologically, human eyes can only focus on an area roughly the size of a dime held at arms length; everything else “in sight” is peripheral. This means it’s physiologically impossible to focus on the road and a mobile device at the same time.
Experts have found that texting while driving is comparable to driving while under the influence of alcohol with regards to driver response times, sometimes exhibiting greaterimpairment than drunk driving. Similar to penalties for drunk driving, some states are sending drivers found to be texting and driving at the time of a fatal accident to prison; many of those being young adults (the largest age group of texting drivers).
Distracted driving has become the leading cause of driver deaths amongst teenagers nationwide. More than one-third of adolescent fatalities across the nation are due to texting and driving.. Surprisingly, some states have found that texting and driving bans have done little to reduce fatalities on the road. Whether the bans are present or not, texting and driving has become a nationwide epidemic, including right here in Houston.
Much like campaigns to stop drunk drivers, recent campaigns to stop texting drivers have swept the nation. In September of 2013, Mayor Annise Parker launched the Mayors United against Texting While Driving campaign in partnership with the It Can Wait campaign. Other national campaigns include End Distracted Driving and Oprah’s No Phone Zone pledge, which focuses on getting all drivers to take a pledge of some kind (online, written, verbal, or other) to not text and drive.
Oprah Winfrey said it best: “Don’t tempt faith; that text can wait.”