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Texting and Driving: Is a National Ban Next?

Monday, 11 Oct 2010 | 11:51 AM ET

Texting and driving is as dangerous as driving while drunk, Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, told CNBC Monday.

Because cell-phone-related accidents are mounting, the interest in a nationwide ban against combining the two activities is gaining steam nationwide. Thirty states already have laws against texting, calling and driving.

“It’s as bad as drunk driving,” added Ditlow. “We have a ban on drunk driving, we should have a ban on texting and talking.”

Banning Texting, Calling & Driving?
The U.S. Transportation may start research on drivers who make calls and text while driving, with Clarence Ditlow, Center for Auto Safety, and CNBC's Dennis Kneale.

Two years ago, nearly 6,000 people were killed and 500,000 injured in car accidents related to drivers distracted. The same year, 25 people died in a train crash in California after the conductor was texting.

Ditlow added that it took 20 years to get a federal law passed than banned drinking and driving. He said, given the driving and cell-phone use statistics so far, it’s unwise to wait till there are more injuries and deaths.

Drivers of all ages use their cell phones and drive, but according to the automobile organization AAA, almost half of all teenagers admit to doing both together.

Said Secretary of the Department of Transportation Ray La Hood last week, “I don’t want people talking on phones, having them up to their ear or texting while they’re driving. We need a lot better research.”

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