Yesterday’s Dallas Morning News had an excellent article about the serious problem of drivers who insist on driving and texting (TWD) — and how so few admit this caused their crash.
Last year police officers reported that cellphone use was a contributing factor in just 3,283 of the estimated 500,000 acccidents on the crash report sent to the Texas Department of Transportation. But very few law enforcement officials ask the negligent driver if he was on the phone/texting.
Officials admit this number of wrecks caused by TWD is substantially higher –up with DWI and speeding.
And on the list of factors and conditions police checked off on CR-3, “distraction in vehicle” was a factor in 10,261 accidents and “driver inattention” in another 82,833 wrecks. These are cited even when the officer believes the negligent driver was on his cell phone or texting at the time of the crash. Those two categories accounted for 408 fatalities.
“People are reluctant to admit they were on the phone because they think there is a law against it already,” said Price, the Allen traffic officer. “It’s really underreported.”
The Texas House and Senate passed a texting ban in 2011. Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the bill. The House passed the ban this year but the bill died in the Senate. The bill’s sponsor, conservative Representative Tom Craddick from Midland (R) stated: “I’m not going to stop until we get this done.”
Paul Lassalle of the Houston Police Departmen said the deterrent value of an anti-texting law, combined with a follow-up ad campaign, would save lives.
Most states (41) have enacted some form of texting ban. Their interstates and roads are no doubt much safer than ours are as a result.
I’ve blogged about this problem many times, most recently here: