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Texting: A short task that causes death and injuries

It's easy to get distracted. Maybe a call comes in while you're driving, or you have to respond to a message you've received. The problem is that texting and talking on the phone both make you more likely to end up in an accident.

Texting is a particular issue. It takes your attention away from the roads and places it on a conversation, reading or writing. Even if you respond quickly, taking your eyes off the road for five seconds is enough to allow your vehicle to travel the distance of a football field without you looking up once.

Why is texting dangerous?

Texting distracts you visually, cognitively and manually. Visual distractions take your eyes off the road, manual diversions take your hands off the wheel. Cognitive distractions occur when you're thinking of things other than driving. Sending a text, calling someone on the phone, dialing a phone number and other acts all put you at a higher risk of getting into a crash.

Are distracted driving crashes preventable?

Yes. In almost all cases, it's possible to stop these crashes from happening by removing distractions from the vehicle or making sure they don't act as distractions while the driver is behind the wheel. For instance, turning a phone to silent makes sure no one hears a new text or call come in.

Many states have also made laws banning the use of electronics or sending text messages during a drive. As of June 2017, texting was illegal in 46 states and Washington, D.C., while two other states made it illegal for new drivers to text behind the wheel. Government employees are also unable to text while driving for government-related business or when using government equipment thanks to a law passed by President Obama in September 2009.

Texting is dangerous, and everyone is aware of the perils. If you're hit, know your rights. Drivers need to be held responsible.

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