::Texting Ban Fails::

As I look around while stuck in traffic on the infamous 405 I begin to notice not many people pay attention to the no texting law much less the handsfree device law. Actually in February I was hit by a guy leaving campus too wrapped up in the conversation on his cell phone to realize the light was yellow and not green.

I stopped texting when the no texting law was passed in California. I stopped making phone calls while driving after taking one class on cognition.

A quick internet search reveled the following 2006 research article from University of Utah, Drivers On Cell Phones Are As Bad As Drunks.

Motorists who talk on handheld or hands-free cellular phones are as impaired as drunken drivers.
We found that people are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit” of 0.08 percent.
Hands-free cell phones are just as distracting as handheld cell phones because the conversation itself – not just manipulation of a handheld phone.

There is a plethora research to demonstrate that driving is an automatic process, however, automatic processes still require a majority of our attention span. Other interference takes away from our reaction time and interferes with our ability to make the right decisions.
Therefore those of us carrying on with our mothers about how our day went while driving 80 mph down the freeway are not paying attention to the cars around us. It is just scientifically impossible.

An article published to day by USA Today states that the number of accidents have actually increased in some states with a no texting while driving law.

Thirty states and the District of Columbia ban texting while driving; 11 of the laws were passed this year, and yet texting bans haven’t reduced crashes at all.
Researchers at the Highway Loss Data Institute compared rates of collision insurance claims in four states — California, Louisiana, Minnesota and Washington — before and after they enacted texting bans. Crash rates rose in three of the states after bans were enacted.

I believe this evidence goes back to telling people what to do. The majority of people believe that sending a quick two word response or reading and email while driving is not dangerous. Therefore, they will ignore a law that prevents them from doing so.

I believe there should be a law that states no use of cell phone while operating a vehicle, but more importantly there should be an education program to show why. The research has proven it has nothing to do with the actual device, it has to do with the drivers concentration.

The evidence is there for each of us to make the right choice. I did not stop using my phone in the car for others, I stopped for myself and my family. Educate yourself and make the right decision, not because of a law forces you to, but because you love your family and want to ensure a long life with them.