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Texting on cell phones while driving kills 5000 annually

Talking and texting on new and old cell phones while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is responsible for the death of over 5000 people per year on the highways of the United States, with teenage drivers particularly susceptible to such distractions according to a new study.

A 2009 study that focused on the drivers of larger vehicles as well as trucks concluded that texting increased the risk of having a crash by as many as 23 times in comparison to drivers who are not distracted, an environmental report claims.

The report was authored for the journal CQ Researcher by environmental researcher Uvid Hosanksy.  “Texting drivers took their eyes off the road for each text an average of 4.6 seconds, which at 55 miles per hour means they were driving the length of a football field without looking.” Not that simply talking on a cell phone is any less dangerous than texting either.  “Experts say that talking on a cell phone while driving is far more distracting than talking with an adult passenger, because it consumes additional cognitive resources, including creating a mental picture of the person on the other end of the conversation,” says the twice Pulitzer Prize nominated Hosanksy.

Around 16 percent of drivers who were under the age of 20 when involved in fatal crashes are believed to have been distracted, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.