Texts while driving even more dangerous

July 27, 2009 11:42:18 PM PDT
It turns out texting while driving is even more dangerous than experts thought. A new study shows texting is the most dangerous distraction you can face while driving.

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Vinnie Le says texting is his main form of communication. When he texts while driving, he says he does not take his eyes off the road -- for long.

"Two or three seconds, I'm pretty good with it I can use it with one hand and not look at it," Le said.

But a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation institute found that when Le texts, he is 23 times more likely to crash.

People talking on a cell phone are only four times more likely to get into an accident.

"I believe it; I think that sounds pretty good to me," Le said.

The study is the first one to watch people inside their vehicles -- others were conducted in a lab.

These researchers placed cameras inside long-haul trucks and watched the drivers for 18 months. Their results show that the safety risk while texting is even higher than all previous studies estimated.

This does not surprise State Senator Joe Simitian, who sponsored California's ban on texting while driving.

"I don't think it's any wonder the research is coming back confirming what I think most of us understand intuitively," Simitian said.

But police tell us this law is tough to enforce. Many drivers will text with their phones in their lap where the officers cannot see it.

"I've seen several occasions where folks are texting or using a hand-held device; as soon as they see a police car pull up next to them actually throw their phone across the car," Palo Alto Police Department spokesperson, Agent Max Nielepko said.

Only 13 other states ban texting while driving.

"I do think enforcement is a challenge, but having the law on the books means a lot of folks will obey the law," Simitian said.

Le says he might start obeying the law, but since he sends out about 100 texts a day, it could be a hard habit to break.

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