Justin: Cell phones and driving. It is a combo that many say don’t mix.
A new study from Texas A&M University backs that up. Researchers found it takes a texting driver twice as along to react behind the wheel than a non-texting driver, crucial moments that could mean the difference between life and death.
Now, the government is stepping in to help young drivers make the right choice.
“It looks bad, and it is. Talking or texting on your cell phone while driving can do some serious damage…or worse.”
Justin: Distracted driving killed more than 5,000 people in 2009 and caused nearly 450,000 people to be injured. Twenty-year-old Lindsey Harden is one of them.
Lindsey Harden: You don’t think anything’s going to happen because it’s a five-second text.
Justin: But it was in those five seconds that Lindsey’s life almost changed forever. Lindsey was texting her boyfriend when she crashed her car into a wall. She almost lost her leg in the accident and she still has painful memories of her year-long recovery.
Lindsey: It was horrible. Your mom has to come in your room and sit behind you and sit you up and brush your teeth for you.
Justin: At any moment, 11% of drivers are using a cell phone. And according to government statistics, that makes them four times more likely to get in to an accident. What is even worse, texting while driving, which makes a driver twenty-three times more likely to get in to an accident.
Ray Lahood: There is no phone call, there is no text message that can’t wait until you get to your destination. There isn’t.
Justin: Ray Lahood is the person in charge when it comes to transportation, and he is on the frontlines of the war against distracted driving and says it is hard to get people to break the habit.
Lahood is promoting this online campaign which features tragic stories from victims of distracted driving.
Ray: When you see the videos — these heartbreaking videos of people telling their stories — that’s it. You get the message.
Justin: He is not alone in his fight. Cell phone companies, like T-mobile, are doing their part too. They have created a service that stores calls and text messages in a moving car. The only problem is, it is not very popular.
“Everybody thinks they can use their cell phone while they’re driving and everybody’s done it.”
Justin: But not everyone has lived to talk about it.
Justin Finch, Channel One news.