Don’t text or e-mail behind the wheel

Written by Nicholas Serrano. Posted in Community News

Published on September 28, 2011 with No Comments

Indiana officials launched an effort to help increase awareness about the state’s recently enacted ban on texting and emailing while driving. The law went into effect July 1, but many motorists may still not be aware of the change.

The awareness campaign will use message signs along major roads across Indiana to inform drivers about the ban. Signs have popped up along I-65, I-94 and along U.S. 30 at Colorado St. in Merrillville.

The new awareness campaign used approximately 50 similar electronic signs across the state, with the  display “No Texting While Driving, It’s the Law” and “Arrive Alive, Don’t Text and Drive.”

With more and more people using their phones to text and send emails, texting while driving has become a major source of distracted driving.

Indiana State Police records revealed that nearly 1,200 crashes last year involved cell phone use as a contributing factor. Four of those crashes resulted in death.

A 2009 Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study found actively texting drivers take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every six seconds. At 55 mph, drivers can travel the length of a football field without looking at the road.

Research shows texting-while-driving bans are effective in deterring the practice. According to a February 2011 report from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, the use of cellphones as a contributing factor in teen crashes dropped by 72 percent – from 496 crashes to 138 – after enactment of Indiana’s 2009 ban on texting while driving for teenage drivers.

While the new law bans drivers of all ages from texting or emailing while driving, adults can still use hands-free or voice-operated devices to send messages and make phone calls.

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