Dangerous driver distractions: Texting

Louisiana is a state in which texting while driving is illegal, punishable by $175 to $500 depending on the number of violations a driver racks up. It's treated as a primary offense moving violation, but why is it treated so seriously?

Simply put, it's treated that way because texting while driving is one of the most dangerous distractions a driver could face on the road. The Los Angeles Times reports on a study done by the University of North Texas Health Science Center, showing the increased number of accidents that have occured since cell phones and text messaging became more popular. For example, the overall death toll resulting from distracted driving rose 5% from 1999 to 2008. There may be a direct correlation between this and cell phone usage, as 6% of American drivers have been seen using these devices while driving.

DMV.com goes as far as saying that texting while driving is actually the most risk-riddled distraction. A person's chance of getting into a crash can increase up to 23% just by shooting out a message or reading one that's been received. Reaction times are significantly dampened, showing that a chatty young driver tends to have the same reflexes as someone who is in their seventies. On top of that, a driver can travel the distance of an entire football stadium in 5 seconds, which is the average amount of time it takes to read a text.

Needless to say, these signs all point to texting while driving being a very dangerous thing. With such an obvious increase in fatalities and accidents, it makes sense that texting while driving would be considered a primary offense.

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