Dnt txt me bro!: Critics worry texting while driving increases

(U-WIRE) Some people do it at home. Some people prefer to do it in class. And some even do it while they are driving.

In today’s technology-obsessed society, it seems that there is no place text messaging cannot be done.

Certainly, it is not uncommon to see students whip out their cell phones and work their thumbs at record speed as they quietly “text” – a word that remained a noun until recent years.

In fact, sending text messages with cell phones, personal digital assistants and other devices has become an almost automatic action among today’s youth.

But what happens when some of these activities actually impair one’s ability to focus on what they are really doing at the time, such as driving?

Safety critics and concerned parents alike have long hounded the use of cell phones while driving, often arguing that young minds are too easily distracted to multi-task behind the wheel.

And recent research by Clemson University may give them better reason to do so.

Researchers have found in a simulated driving study that “text messages and iPods caused drivers to leave their lanes 10 percent more often” than drivers who were not using the devices while driving.

The main problem with text messaging, which is not an issue when one is talking on the cell phone, is that the driver must look away from the road in order to type the message.

Many states have also found that this technology is distracting. According to MSNBC.com, “California and 15 other states are considering bills banning teens from using electronic equipment while driving… another 13 states and the District of Columbia have [already] passed bans.”

Most teens and young adults don’t really see text messaging as a problem while they are driving. Most consider themselves coordinated enough to text while still keeping their eyes on the road, since most claim to type automatically without needing to look at their phones while they’re doing it.

GMAC Auto Insurance places multi-tasking while driving as the number one mistake that causes crashes and suggests that “When you turn the car on, turn the gadgets off. No matter how busy your day is, when you’re on the road, focus only on driving. Catch up on other activities later and avoid unnecessary accidents.”

An organization called the Text Free Driving Organization is aiming to do just that. Their Web site states that “Texting requires the use of two hands and frequent reference to the cellular telephone view screen.

Obviously, attempting to operate an automobile while texting is recklessly dangerous.”

The group has created the Web site in order to encourage people to be more aware of this danger. Those who agree that this is actually dangerous are not alone.

According to the Text Free Driving Organization, “89 percent of American adults think sending text messages or e-mails while driving is distracting, dangerous and should be outlawed.”

Ultimately, however, it is up to the “texter” to decide whether or not their safety — and the safety of countless other drivers — is worth risking for a simple digital message.

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