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Texting-While-Driving: A New Disease

Texting-while-driving has become an epidemic. The statistics are nothing short of ghastly. Indeed, the National Safety Council estimates that a quarter of all accidents on American roads last year – 1.6 million – were the result of texting-while-driving. Texting behind the wheel accounts for nearly 330,000 injuries occur each year.

Florida is not exempt. Distracted driving led to 45,000 crashes in our state last year, and more than 200 deaths. More disturbing still, the problem doesn’t seem likely to go away, despite the fact that 46 states have placed a ban on texting-while-driving. 25 percent of teenagers admit to responding to at least one text message every time they drive.

Police Are Getting Creative

The statewide bans are not easy to enforce. This is because it’s not always easy to catch texting drivers in the act. One officer of the law observed that offenders are adept at hiding their activity. “People are holding the phone down,” the officer said. “And that’s really even more dangerous because they’re taking their eyes completely off the road.”

So police have had to get creative. Some ride shotgun in school buses or patrol on bicycles to get a closer view of drivers. Others even pose as roadside panhandlers. Still, the problem persists.

The Future Is Distant

Some studies note that we text-and-drive because we’re unable not to; receiving a ping while on the road releases the same hormones as sexual activity, and thus the urge to respond is strong. Many believe the only solution will come when self-driving cars become predominant, and humans – with all their error and fallibility – no longer keep control of their vehicles.

Until then, it seems unlikely that the activity will drastically diminish. We have to wait for the future, and hope we make it there.

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