Safer cell phone use is possible behind the wheel - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

What really happens when you text and drive

It's a habit so many of us have: We read, respond to, and even write text messages.  We take phone calls.  We can sometimes be distracted drivers.

The National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended that all cell phone use be banned from automobiles.  It is only a recommendation, but the federal government weighs an NTSB recommendation heavily.

Cyber Expert Theresa Payton weighs in:

IT'S HARMLESS AND I DRIVE FINE:

According to a test conducted by Car and Driver magazine and other studies, no you don't!

*     Car and Driver tested drivers reading texts and sending texts.  They used a simulation of another car with brake lights to time how long it took them to react.

*     Next, they asked  the subjects to drink alcohol until they hit .08 BAC and then asked them to drive and react to the same brake light test. 

(Don't worry, the tests were done on a long strip without other cars!)

*     When do you think they drove better?  When they had the .08 BAC!

*     We know that drinking and driving is dangerous, many establishments encourage you to take a cab instead of driving.  Now we know that texting while driving is actually more unsafe!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

The NTSB has drafted a new set of rules about cell phone use by drivers of a moving car

*     The NTSB cannot mandate any guidelines.  The States can ignore the NTSB guidelines, adopt some, or adopt all of the guidelines

*     Research from Virginia Tech showed that even hands free phone headsets do not eliminate the distractions presented when talking on the phone while driving

NTSB has said, "No call, no text, no update is worth a human life."

*     They may make allowances for on board systems like OnStar or cell phone based GPS systems 

*     If you are for or against the ban, you can leave comments for the NTSB or direct them to the Governor's office of the state that you live in.  

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