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What is distracted driving?
Ever eaten in the car? Fiddled with a radio knob? Looked away from the road to check something on your seat? Congratulations: you’ve been a risk to yourself and those around you.
Distracted driving is exactly what it sounds like, people who are not paying attention behind the wheel.
And nothing is more distracting than texting, as it requires you to actually look at your phone’s screen instead of the road.
Texting while driving?
Car and Driver tested reaction times by having a red light, designed to simulate a brake light, trigger as their professional driver was texting.
They found texting while behind the wheel is the equivalent of chugging a few beers before getting behind the wheel.
In fact, as drunk driving fatalities are dropping, texting fatalities are going up.
Using a cell phone in your car at all is fairly controversial.
The National Transportation Safety Board, the people who administer crash tests, recently called for a ban on all cell phone use in cars, right down to banning using a hands-free device to take calls.
What are states doing about it?
People are aware of the danger and are acting accordingly. Texting while driving bans have resulted in 35 states passing laws against it.
The following fifteen states do not have such bans:
- New Mexico
- South Dakota
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
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Which states are the worst?
We took information from the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration and the Governor’s Highway Safety Association: two agencies seriously concerned about texting and driving as a public safety issue.
We compared our distracted driving data against the percentage of people who admitted to texting while behind the wheel, a whopping thirty-seven percent.
And that gave us our hall of shame, which would be from least to greatest:
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- New Mexico
So, what can we do?
First, keep your cell phone away from your dashboard and in your pocket, where it belongs. Ideally, turn it off completely while driving.
If that’s not possible, when you get the text, find a place to pull over before answering.
Secondly, call your friends out if you see them doing it. Part of the reason drunk driving has declined is that we, as a society, are telling people it’s not OK.
And, no matter what your driving habits are, look for car insurance using our free quote tool.
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