Senators to introduce ban on texting while driving

Democratic senators will introduce legislation Wednesday to impose a nationwide ban on sending cell phone text messages while driving.

Fourteen states already have such laws on the books, but the new legislation would force every state to adopt a similar ban or risk losing all federal highway funds. That would be a devastating blow to already cash-strapped states.

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The four senators co-sponsoring the legislation – Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) — announced the legislation at a press conference Wednesday morning.

"This legislation addresses a growing problem on our nation's highways: distracted drivers," Landrieu said. "Studies show that texting while driving increases the chances of a high-speed collision and has been found to be even more dangerous than driving drunk."

A recent study by Virginia Tech found that texting makes drivers 23 times more likely to crash.

The authors of the study have called for a law to address the problem.

"Texting is in its own universe of risk," Rich Hanowski told The New York Times.

"You should never do this," added fellow researcher Tom Dingus. "It should be illegal."

This story was updated at 12:25 p.m.