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New laws about texting while driving and using your cellphone are being put into effect more frequently. The question is: are the laws helping or just causing more accidents? Instead of keeping one eye on the road and one eye on your phone in front of you, drivers are now trying to text from their lap to avoid detection from the police. This is resulting in dropping their eye levels and focus to the floor instead of out in front.

Texting and Driving Facts

Did you know that someone texting while driving is 23 times more likely to get into a crash than a non-texting driver? In 2011 alone 23% of all car accidents were due to texting while driving, that’s 1.3 million accidents. Since texting requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction. 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger. Texting while driving reduces the part of the brain implemented while driving by 37%. While teenagers are texting while driving, they spend about 10% of the time outside the driving lane they’re supposed to be in. Answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds, which is enough time to travel the length of a football field.

Texting and Driving Laws

Each state has their own laws for cell phone usage as well as texting while driving bans. In Maryland and West Virginia (until July 2013), all laws are in primary enforcement—an officer may cite a driver for using a handheld cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place. Here's the rundown of those laws as well as a table with the states and bans in place:

State Bans-A number of states have outlawed handheld cell phone use while driving, or have banned cell phone use for certain types of drivers. Most make an exception for emergency calls to police, the fire department, and medical personnel.

Handheld phones-Seven states have enacted laws banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving: California, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington (as well as Washington D.C. and the Virgin Islands). With the exception of Maryland, all of these states allow "primary enforcement of an offense." This means that police officers can pull you over for using a handheld cell phone without any other reason for the traffic stop.

So please think about these facts the next time you are driving and think about using your cell phone. Is texting while driving worth the risk?

Author: Richard Morris

<pRichard Morris, an independent insurance agent in Chandler, Arizona, has been serving and helping Arizona families with all their insurance needs for over 23 years. Visit his website at to see all the ways he can help you with your insurance needs or call the office at (480) 336-2707 or toll free at (888) 907-9349. Connect with Rich on Google+ and Twitter. </p
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