Driving While Texting: Laws Per State
Every day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, and 1,060 people are injured in crashes involving distracted drivers. About 3,300 people are killed in crashes involving a distracted driver each year, and 18 percent of crashes in which someone is injured involves a distracted driver.
There are three main types of driving distractions. The first is visual, in which a driver takes his or her eyes off the road. Another are manual distractions, which involve a driver, taking his or her hands off the wheel. Cognitive distractions occur when the driver takes his or her focus off of driving.
In recent years, modern technology has become a saving grace in the means of progressive, communication methods and medical advances; however, it has also introduced an alarming trend in recent years, thanks to a handy little device we know as our “cell phone.”
Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous (and contributing) factors to automobile crashes and fatalities. Texting while driving combines all three types of distractions; it takes a driver’s attention and visual focus away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field, distracted!
31 percent of U.S. drivers (ages 18-64) admit to having read or sent text messages and/or emails while driving, at least once within the past 30 days.
Even more frightening? Nearly 50 percent of all U.S. high school students (16 and older) text while driving. Students who text while driving are 2 times more likely to ride with a driver who has been drinking, and 5 times as likely to drink and drive, than students who don’t text while driving.
At any moment during daylight in America, 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, and 25 percent of teens are responding to a text message once or more every time they drive. An additional 20 percent of teens admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving., while 10 percent of surveyed parents admit they too have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving.
On September 30, 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13513; prohibiting federal employees from texting when driving during government business hours, and/or when driving with government-owned equipment.
In terms of states taking their own anti-texting stand, Washington became the first to pass a texting ban in 2007, and an additional 41 states and territories (including D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands) have since banned text messaging by drivers. Overall, 6 states prohibit text messaging by novice drivers, and 3 states restrict school bus drivers from texting.