Road Patrol: Texting and Driving

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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Texting and driving. It takes your eyes off the road for just a couple of seconds. But, how bad could just a couple of seconds possibly be?

According to AAA, it could be bad.

“In 2018, 2,800 people were killed in distracted driving crashes. That went up to 3,100 in 2019. And every day, 9 people are killed in distracted driving crashes, and over 1,000 people are injured,” said Lynda Lambert, AAA Spokesperson.

Lynda Lambert, AAA Spokesperson (WBOY photo)

And while most of us know it’s a bad habit, AAA found we do it anyway.

“While 96 percent of us realize that it’s a dangerous thing to do, trying to text or email while you’re driving, almost half of the people who responded in the survey said that in the last 30 days, they had sent a text or an email while they were driving,” said Lambert.

After you send a text or email, you’re still distracted—for longer than you may think.

“Distractions last for as long as 27 seconds after you perform the task of reading a text or an email. It’s kind of a hangover or a brain fog effect,” said Lambert.

For reference, the chorus of “Country Roads” is around 24 seconds long.

Cars on Route 50 in Clarksburg (WBOY photo)

Texting and driving is illegal in all 50 states, with most states having a “hands-free” policy, including West Virginia.

West Virginia revised code defines hands-free as “an electronic communication device…by which a user engages in a call or text without the use of either hand or both hands.”

Vehicles head southbound on I-79 towards Clarksburg (WBOY photo)

Lambert recommends 3 things to keep your eyes on the road.

“First, put your phone down. Second, if you have to program navigation, do all of that ahead of time. Know where you’re going so you’re not fumbling trying to find a map or directions. If you have a passenger in the car, ask them to be your co-pilot,” said Lambert. “People just don’t think they’re going to be the ones who are a victim of it. It’s like, ‘I can multi-task and I’ll be just fine and that’s not the case.'”

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