Letter of the Day (July 14): Texting while driving

  • Updated: July 13, 2013 - 6:00 PM
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This April 3, 2013 photo provided by the Greeley Police shows the text message University of Northern Colorado student Alexander Heit was typing to an unidentified person when police say he lost control of his car and ran off the road. He was taken to North Colorado Medical Center where he later died. Now his parents are hoping to convince others not to text and drive. The name of the message's recipient was redacted by the Greeley Police to protect the recipient's identity. (AP Photo/Greeley Police)

Photo: Uncredited, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

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More and more tests of drivers using hands-free telephones (Bluetooth) while driving reveal that their reaction times are equal to, or worse than, driving legally drunk.

At 40 miles per hour, a car travels 59 feet per second. If people look briefly for five seconds at an incoming text on a phone, not even texting a response, then they will have traveled 295 feet with their attention not on driving. That is almost the length of a football field.

At 60 mph, a car travels 88 feet per second. The five seconds of inattention increases to approximately one and a half football fields.

In Car and Driver tests, a person looking at texts functions almost twice as slow as one driving while impaired by alcohol (0.08 alcohol level, legally drunk).

Nobody is immune to this, even if you think you are an above average driver. Not surprisingly, approximately 82 percent of respondents in a recent survey believed they were above average drivers.

It’s not a matter of if you will get in an accident and possibly kill someone, it’s a matter of when.

Is taking a life worth texting or talking while driving?

When driving: drive. If you need to talk or text, pull over.

David Berger, Minneapolis

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