Although texting-while-driving is prohibited in just 10 states, momentum is building against the practice, reports Msnbc.com. By January, New York and eight other states will have joined the list when laws awaiting enactment go into effect. It might seem obvious that using a cell phone would be a distraction for a driver, but only recently has a large body of research emerged to demonstrate it. There is even less research examining the specific risk of typing out text messages.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded that in 2002 that a quarter-million accidents and 955 deaths could be attributed to drivers' use of cell phones, either texting or talking. That research was finally obtained by safety activists last month under the Freedom of Information Act – after it had sat on the shelf for years. Last month, the first study of “driving while intexticated” – sending text messages while behind the wheel – came out. It concluded that the risk of an accident was four times greater for a driver typing out a text message than for a driver dialing a cell phone – and more than 23 times greater than for a driver who wasn't distracted by a phone at all.