San Antonio Police Chief William McManus today came out in support of banning all use of telephones while driving, saying talking on the phone is dangerous, and texting or sending e-mails while driving is even more dangerous, 1200 WOAI news reports.
“I think the Legislators should outlaw phone use altogether in vehicles,” McManus said. “If you can’t text, you shouldn’t be able to call either. It’s the same difference.”
McManus spoke at a TxDOT ‘distracted diving summit,’ where it was pointed out that driver distraction, mainly the use of smart phones behind the wheel are now responsible for one out of every five car accidents in the state, and more than 95,000 traffic crashes last year.
“With distracted driving responsible for one in every five crashes in Texas, we wan to help business leaders understand what they can do to protect their employees, themselves, and other motorists on the road,” said John Barton of TxDOT. “When employees crash on company time while using a mobile device, employers can be held liable for significant damages.
Jonathan Esquivel, a San Antonio Police Officer who was badly hurt by a texting driver while he was directing traffic around a wreck, says you don’t even need to be writing a text to be distracted.
“I come to find out that this guy was reading a text,” he recalls. “You don’t have to be texting, you don’t have to actually typing letter in.”
McManus said people should also not send text messages or e-mails to people when they know they will be driving.
Drivers who use a cell phone while behind the wheel are four times as likely to get into a crash serious enough to cause an injury, AT&Ts Patti Larsen said. “Texting takes your eves off the road for nearly five seconds, on average. At 55 mph, that is like driving an entire football field blindfolded.