Congress Moves to Ban Texting While Driving

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A new move in Congress will require all states to ban texting behind the wheel, even as it becomes a growing problem on America's highways.

Currently, 14 states and the District of Columbia outlaw the practice. But if this new legislation passes, texting while driving could be illegal in every state.

Studies show that drivers who crashed or nearly crashed spent an average of 5 seconds looking at their text devices at 55 miles per hour. That is about long enough to cover the distance of a football field.
    
The proposed legislation comes on the heels of a study that shows drivers who text behind the wheel are 23 times more likely to get into an accident.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and other Democrat lawmakers sponsored the bill which would force states to ban texting while driving or risk losing Federal transportation dollars.

Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety said drivers should not deceive themselves.

"Anyone who says they can text and drive is misleading themselves and even worse they are going to be killing other people on the highway," he said.

Research also finds that driving while texting can be even more dangerous than driving drunk. Safety experts said that is why stricter laws are needed.

"Lots of research in other areas of highway safety has shown that what gets drivers to change their behavior is a strong law strongly enforced," said Anne McCartt with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

If passed, the measure would be patterned after the way the Congress required states to adopt a national ban on drunk driving.

*Original broadcast July 29, 2009

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

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Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.