U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood this week unveiled sample legislation that can be used as a starting point for states looking to craft laws to prohibit texting while driving.
There is an ongoing concern about texting while driving because it combines three types of distraction: visual – taking your eyes off the road, manual – taking your hand(s) off the wheel, and cognitive – taking your mind off the road.
“Texting while driving, like talking on cell phones while driving, is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening practice,” said Secretary LaHood, in a press release.
“This language, which we created with a variety of safety organizations, is another powerful tool in our arsenal to help the states combat this serious threat.”
Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have a ban on texting while driving.
Additionally, federal employees are not allowed to text while driving government-owned vehicles or government-owned equipment.
And just last month, LaHood announced federal guidance to prohibit texting by drivers of commercial vehicles, including large trucks and buses.
Truck and bus drivers who text while driving may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.
Of course, a recent study found that texting was not the biggest distraction while driving; it turned out to be road rage and screaming children.
However, another study found texting drivers were six times more likely to get into an accident, which could lead to even higher insurance rates for teens, who seem to be the biggest texters out there.