Research proves danger of texting while driving, although it should be obvious

Okay. The results of this study shouldn’t be a surprise. What is surprising is how many people text while driving:

The first study of drivers texting inside their vehicles shows that the risk sharply exceeds previous estimates based on laboratory research — and far surpasses the dangers of other driving distractions.

The new study, which entailed outfitting the cabs of long-haul trucks with video cameras over 18 months, found that when the drivers texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, which compiled the research and plans to release its findings on Tuesday, also measured the time drivers took their eyes from the road to send or receive texts.

In the moments before a crash or near crash, drivers typically spent nearly five seconds looking at their devices — enough time at typical highway speeds to cover more than the length of a football field.

I’ve had my car for 10 years now and the odometer just hit 32,000 miles. I just don’t drive much. I am, however, always walking around D.C., mostly with my dog. I live right off Connecticut Avenue, which is a pretty major thoroughfare for this city. It’s amazing to me how many people are fiddling with their blackberries or iphones while driving. Lots of people are talking on the phone, which is illegal. But, more and more, I see people looking down at their handheld devices — while driving. This being D.C, people here are very, very important and must always be checking emails and texts. That’s more important than paying attention to the road.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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