Dec 03, 2010
Texting while driving has emerged recently as a major public safety issue. Just a few years ago, only a handful of states banned the practice. Now, more than half of the states prohibit all drivers from texting while driving; some states impose a ban only on certain drivers (younger drivers or bus drivers, for example; you can find a frequently updated chart of state laws on texting and using cell phones while driving here, at the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures).
And it's no wonder why: According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, texting while driving increases the risk of a crash or accident by 23 times, a much greater danger than any of the other activities studied (such as dialing or using a cell phone). Texting resulted in drivers taking their eyes off the road for the longest period as well. How long? Long enough to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph, according to the study. (Check it out here.)
Recently, OSHA decided that enough facts were in to officially declare texting while driving a workplace hazard and an OSHA violation. On its new "Distracted Driving" page, OSHA tells employers that requiring, encouraging, or condoning texting while driving for work is prohibited: