Texting While Driving Ban Becomes Hot Issue Across Nation

Reuters reports that automakers support calls to ban testing while driving.

“It’s common sense,” said Dave McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers trade group. “The use of hand-held devices has increased dramatically, and I think there is a temptation to lose focus and take your eyes off the road.”

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers represents General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, plus Toyota Motors, Volkswagen, and other foreign automakers.

The wireless industry, represented by the CTIA-Wireless Association, also states that text messaging is “incompatible with safe driving.”

CTIA said that there were more than a trillion text messages sent and received last year. They have no statistics on how many of those text messages occurred behind the wheel of an automobile.

Last year a Nationwide Insurance study estimated that approximately 20 percent of drivers are texting while driving. The study found that 66 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 are texting behind the wheel.

The National Safety Council wants to see a full ban on texting while driving as well as all cell phone use.

It seems as if the auto industry and wireless industry are supporting a ban on texting in hopes of offsetting a ban on all cell phone use behind the wheel.

Virginia Tech recently found that text messaging while driving is significantly more distracting than talking on a cell phone while driving. Researchers said that texting while driving “has the potential to create a true crash epidemic,” especially among teenagers.

At this point, 18 states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving. A few states have banned cell phone use behind the wheel. In New York and California, drivers must use hands-free devices while driving.

Senator Charles Schumer of New York has proposed legislation that would withhold 25 percent of federal highway money from states that do not ban texting while driving.

Next week the U.S. Transportation Department will hold a distracted driving summit in Washington to discuss the problem and possible solutions. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “Following the summit, I expect to have a list of concrete steps to announce.”

We’ll follow the distracted driving conference closely and keep you updated. I hope that the summit ends with concrete plans to ban texting while driving for truck drivers and bus drivers, at minimum. These large vehicles put us all in danger when their drivers are distracted.

Do you think texting while driving should be banned for all drivers? Do you think it should be illegal for truck drivers and bus drivers to text while driving?

If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver or hurt in a truck or bus wreck, call Atlanta accident attorney Michael Neff at 404-531-9700. We’ll set up a free consultation to answer any questions that you may have about your legal rights.