Talking & Driving Is Hazardous - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

07/01/08 -- Lufkin

Talking & Driving Is Hazardous

By Mystic Matthews

Driving and talking on the phone, everyone is guilty of it.  In fact, according to the national highway traffic safety administration, at any given moment, 10 million U.S. Drivers are talking on handheld cell phones.

"If it rings, I can't ignore it. I'm like hello," says 16-year-old Kaitlyn Hopson.

"Occasionally I will get a phone call and answer while I'm driving, but I won't dial while I'm driving," says driver Mike Kimling.

But officers say this habit is one that people really need to break.  Driver inattention --like cell phone use -- is a primary or contributing factor in as many as 25 percent of all police-reported traffic accidents.  And that's not including unreported cases.

"I've had some close calls, while trying to dial while I'm driving, so I just pull over and dial if I need to talk to somebody," says Kimling.

Not only is talking on the phone hazardous to you and others around you, but drivers like Kimling say it's annoying as well.

"I've been behind people that are driving 20mph in a 60 mph zone because they are talking on the phone."

Lt. David Young with LPD says using a hands-free device may not be the answer.

"There are some studies out that indicate that the conversation on the cell phone is the distraction, not so much holding the phone."

Plus, it's not just cell phones that are the problem.

"Just in recent months, I've seen people reading while driving, watching movies while driving, typing on laptops and texting while driving a vehicle.  Anything that distracts you from the main task of driving is not safe."

Lawmakers say Texas legislators have tried to include a bill banning cell phone use while driving, but it's never made it past committee to become a law.

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