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Continuing with our series on interstate driving and safety, I will attempt to follow up Rick’s recent blog on uninsured drivers and Pierce’s blog on hit and run drivers. Except, I will be focusing on another type of dangerous driver that Steve recently blogged about: the texter.

You’re probably quite familiar with someone who can’t seem to put that cell phone down. Perhaps it’s your teenager who has to “stay in touch with their BFF” during the few hours that they aren’t in school and chatting F2F (that’s face-to-face for all of you who aren’t up on the texting lingo). While that may be so, texting while driving is a serious danger to both the texter and other drivers on the interstate highways.

Back in July, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute released a report on the dangers of texting. Specifically, the Institute found that texting is the most dangerous driving distraction and increases the risk of collision 23 times more than when a driver is not texting. Actually, the results of the study were particularly applicable to interstate driving. During the study, the researchers outfitted the cabs of 100 long-haul trucks with video cameras and watched the drivers for 18 months. Their findings showed that in the moments before a crash or near a crash, drivers spent nearly five seconds looking at their texting devices. Traveling at highway speeds, five seconds is enough time for a truck to travel the distance of a football field.

Luckily, House Bill 4394 was introduced in the state House by Representative Lee Gonzales to ban texting while driving in Michigan. Unfortunately, the Michigan legislature voted to make texting while driving a secondary offense. In other words, if a driver is pulled over for another violation, this can be “tacked on” as a secondary offense. However, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has also recently introduced legislation on July 29 to ban all texting or e-mailing while driving, nationwide. Failure to comply would mean a loss of federal highway funds for states. Hopefully, this could push Michigan and other states into stricter enforcement.

Continue to follow our series through the rest of this week. Here’s some of what you’ve missed if you just joined us:

Are Double-Bottomed Semis More or Less Dangerous to You? – Devon Glass from Church Wyble, P.C. (Michigan), August 26, 2009

Who wins and loses when a Ford Focus and a fully-loaded semi-truck crash? – Steve Lombardi from The Lombardi Law Firm (Iowa), August 25, 2009

Hawaii Freeway Chronicles #1: What Are The Danger Points On H-1, H-2 and H-3?, by Wayne Parsons of Wayne Parsons Law Offices. (Hawaii), August 27, 2009

The Interstate Highway Graveyard, “Speed Kills”, Lombardi, August 28, 2009

Why Speeders on the Highway Cause More Serious Accidents, Glass, August 28, 2009

Death and Injury On Interstate Highways Increase With Higher Speed Limits, Wayne Parsons, August 29, 2009 2:31 AM

Drunk Drivers Caused 40% of Traffic Fatalities In Hawaii In 2006, Wayne Parsons, August 31, 2009 12:16 AM

Interstate Highways Are No Place For Drunk Drivers Over The Labor Day WeekendWayne Parsons | September 01, 2009 4:36 PM

Uninsured Motorist Car Insurance: It’s Your Most Important Car Insurance and Here Is Why | Rick Shapiro, September 01, 2009 10:30 AM

Uninsured Drivers: Who Are These People?, Pierce Egerton | September 02, 2009 12:00 PM

Risky Drivers Don’t Just Drive Drunk and Speed – They Often Don’t have Insurance by Wayne Parsons | September 03, 2009 4:09 PM

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