Texting While Driving: Is It Dangerous?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

According to a Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association report roughly two trillion text messages were sent in the U.S. last year; that figure nearly doubles the number reported in 2009. In the past few weeks, texting drivers have caused deaths in Michigan, California, and Georgia, and to date, 33 states have outlawed texting while driving. The Takeaway asks whether text messaging really is as dangerous as critics say, and if so, is outlawing texting while driving the best solution?

We speak with Daniel McGehee, research scientist and director of the Human Factors and Vehicle Safety Research Program at the University of Iowa.

Guests:

Daniel McGehee

Produced by:

Hsi-Chang Lin

Comments [11]

Dave from Northville, MI

A friend of mine came up with the easiest sol'n to this dangerous practice; with all phones now having a gps chip in them, simply disable the phone when it knows it's going more than 15 mph. If one had a true emergency, one could call 911, ask that their phone be activated for the next couple of hours and the police could check up on their emergency through their phone service carrier. If you were on a train or bus, simply activate the phones of passengers using a blue tooth hub. We all survived before cell phones were invented and nobody made calls while driving. I think that's a practice we should really get back to if we're serious about highway safety.

Jun. 20 2011 05:04 PM
Liv from Hartsville

People do not realize that they endanger all of us doing this stupid act.

I cannot tell you how many people I have witnessed drift into oncoming traffic, run me out of my lane or end up riding in the median because they cannot wait a few minutes to talk to whomever it is the have to talk to at that very second! It is ridiculous and infuriates me.

If I could take the drivers license of everyone I catch at it I would be a happy person.

One morning on the hey way to work I counted 17 people using their phones and not one of them could drive worth a damn. I have to get to work I don't have time to be stressed out and fearing for my life because people want to act like fools and not drive safely.

Jun. 09 2011 10:27 AM
Jack from West Caldwell, NJ

I've heard the suggestion that cell phones' texting be disabled when a car is in motion, or even that police be automatically notified.

Unfortunately, this would also impact the car's passengers, as well as train and bus passengers.

We must find a different solution. Not every problem has a technological solution.

Jun. 09 2011 08:47 AM
Mike Schapiro from Toms River, NJ

It requires tough love. Deal with new drivers first. I don't mean parental advisories. Too many young people ignore those.
Create a large speakers' network of family members of victims, those injured, police, and others who will pull no punches.
I see nothing wrong with taking students to salvage shops to see mangled cars or even to cemeteries of victims. I bet a funeral directors association would even cooperate in delicately asking victims' families if a few supervised students' reps can attend and then report back to classmates.

Jun. 09 2011 07:51 AM
Rick Evans from Taxachusetts

The number of people quoted by Jon and Celeste in support of texting is testament to the rise of the educated fool. There's a reason drivers are advised to maintain a 2 second gap between themselves and the next driver.

Fooling around with a device divides your attention cutting into that 2 seconds. And, texting at a red light or stop sign just puts on you the position to obstruct other drivers.

If you must text as the twit who called in saying he couldn't stop himself please make your distracted driving accident a one car accident with yourself the only victim.

Jun. 08 2011 10:23 AM
sue gallo from Miami fl

Not only is texting while driving dangerous, (I remember a cyclist who was killed in central Illinois because the driver was downloading a ring tone - a task much like texting), but it adds to the horrendous traffic congestion here in Miami, FL where most drivers text. It creates slower flow (and more noise pollution) through the series of traffic lights while drivers have to be told with a honk that the light has changed.

Jun. 08 2011 09:47 AM
Tom from Detroit

Wouldn't it be nice if cell phones came with a single button which would send a text message of "I'm busy driving right now. I'll get back with you when I arrive at my destination."

Jun. 08 2011 09:39 AM
Michaelrf from Methuen MA

One cannot safely text while driving in moderate traffic - you will eventually lose. Stop and go, traffic lights etc (NYC), possibly, but texting drivers are slow to respond when traffic moves which makes the stop and go worse. Everyone who drives should participate in competitive driving a few times to gain an appreciation of how much attention GOOD driving requires.

Jun. 08 2011 09:39 AM

Monique, you can find the map here: http://www.thetakeaway.org/blogs/takeaway/2011/jun/08/driving-while-texting-how-does-your-community-behave/

Jun. 08 2011 09:35 AM
Bill from New York, NY

Texting using a keyboard will be a thing of the past very, very soon. The future of texting is voice-to-text apps which can transcribe your voice. This is already part of the Android operating system and there are apps for iPhone. Its just a matter of time before this becomes standard.

Jun. 08 2011 09:34 AM
Monique from Athens, OH

What was the name of the website/map Jon and Celeste mentioned? I don't see it... It supposed to be a map of responses. Please post this link.

Jun. 08 2011 07:30 AM

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