by Kirby Gibbs
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Driving and cell phones just don't mix. Sounds like common sense, but the number of accidents is on the rise. Many divers are actually paying more attention to their dialing than to driving. A national safety group is pushing for a total ban on cell phone use behind the wheel.
On the go... Or in the car--staying connected is part of most people's lives... But the Lufkin Police Department says driving and dialing is dangerous combination.
"We have seen some accidents where the distraction of talking on the cell phone or texting has caused or contributed to the accident" says Lieutenant David Young of LPD.
Even a local wrecker service has fallen victim to a careless driver talking on her cell-phone.
Carl Smith, an owner of Texas Pride Towing and Recovery told KTRE, "This truck suffered 16 thousand dollars worth of damage when a woman came through a red light because she wasn't paying attention, she was on her cell phone".
Accidents like these have members of the congressionally chartered "National Safety Council" concerned. They're pushing for a total ban on cell phone use while driving. Some East Texas drivers are on board for the idea.
"I think that it should be banned. I've seen too many people going up and down the road weaving from side to side because they're talking on the cell phone. And my husband drives a log truck and he has also seen that and it's almost caused him a few wrecks", says one driver.
Studies show that drivers are most distracted from focusing on the conversation.
One man we spoke to said he's been close to getting in an accident while he was on his cell phone and driving. "Talking on the phone and something interesting, i'll look down and kinda blank out and look back and there's a car in front of me.
"We hear people on accident scenes saying, "Aw hell, if I hadn't have been on the phone I would of seen that truck making a turn in front of me" exclaimed Smith.
Even with close calls, one couple isn't convinced...
"Maybe restrict it a little bit or at least put it on speaker phone so you can still have both your hands and drive, still function a little bit cause some of these people can't".
And here's some food for thought, the National Safety Council compares talking on cell phones to drunk driving, saying cell phones increase the risk of a crash, four-fold.