Texting, whether reading or typing, is distracting and dangerous. Consider the following.

While drinking alcohol and driving is dangerous and is the cause for many serious injuries and deaths, new studies have shown that texting while driving is even more dangerous. In addition, walking while texting has been shown to be hazardous.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has studied this issue and determined that texting while driving is six times more dangerous than driving while drunk. An AT&T poll shows that 50% of commuters text while driving, even though 97% of those say it is dangerous, but do it anyway. In fact, statistics show that more people are texting and driving now than they were three years ago.

A Harvard Center for Risk Analysis study shows that 3,000 deaths and 330,000 injuries per year in the United States are due to texting while driving. Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds – this is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field while driving 55 miles per hour!

Short attention spans are becoming universally accepted. We produce 10 second videos, tweet in 140 characters, write 300 word blog posts, and multitask to get things done quickly. We have technology all around us that encourages our short attention spans.

A study of Seattle pedestrians finds that a third of us are living dangerously by texting, talking and listening to music on mobile devices while crossing busy streets. Here is the video referencing the study.

Remind yourself and your teens about these dangers. Encourage restraint from “gadget fever” at inappropriate times. There are campaigns running now to encourage this smart behavior. Rise above the gadgets and enjoy the people and conversations right in front of you. You will be less distracted and therefore safer while walking or driving. Practice gadget abstinence!

Robert Greening