GHSA Supports Ban on Texting While Driving in All States

textdrive2.jpgThe Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) supprts a ban texting behind the
wheel for all drivers in all states. GHSA Members are appointed by their governors to
lead state highway safety agencies.

Texting while driving is very dangerous. It is worse than drinking while driving, according to Car and Driver magazine. Several states including California have banned texting while driving. Carriers such as Verizon support a ban on texting while driving. Recently, Chicago dentists have said that texting during dental work can hinder dental care.

According to GHSA
Chairman Vernon F. Betkey Jr., "The action by the GHSA membership is
based on the fact that texting while driving is indisputably a
distraction and a serious highway safety problem. If every state passes
a texting ban, it will send a message to the public that this dangerous
practice is unacceptable. We can begin to change the culture that has
permitted distracted driving." 

Betkey noted the recent study from the
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute influenced the GHSA membership
action. That study indicated that a driver who is texting increases
crash or near-crash risk by 23 times.

GHSA continues to have
concerns about enforcing text messaging bans. The National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is expected to begin an
enforcement demonstration project later this year which the Association
fully supports. GHSA is hopeful that U.S. Transportation Secretary
LaHood's upcoming summit on distraction and the NHTSA demonstration
project will provide a roadmap for developing additional enforcement
strategies and countermeasures.

Despite these
concerns, GHSA Vice Chairman Lowell Porter is confident that, given all
the focus on the issue, effective enforcement solutions are on the
horizon. "In the past, there were challenges enforcing seat belt and
drunk driving laws. However, the research and highway safety
communities collectively worked together and developed successful
enforcement programs like Click It or Ticket. I am confident that we can do the same thing with texting bans. GHSA's new policy will help move this process along."

Betkey noted that this meeting is the first time in a year that GHSA's
full membership has met. In that time, texting while driving has gained
considerable attention. According to Betkey, "We want to send the
strongest message possible about texting behind the wheel--it is
dangerous and should not be tolerated."

GHSA's new policy was enacted during its Annual Meeting in Savannah, Georgia. The conference runs through September 2.