US pushes for UN texting while driving ban

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The United States is pushing for a United Nations resolution in support of international bans on texting while driving.

U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power said in a speech the push to outlaw texting while driving in many U.S. states should be replicated in other nations.

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“Worldwide, six out of seven people have access to cell phones and more than a billion cars are on the road,” Power said. “In crowded conditions, with narrow roads and poor infrastructure, bicyclists and pedestrians are at particular risk. Too many drivers simply don’t understand the danger of taking their eyes, even briefly, from the road. And while drinking is episodic, the use of hand-held devices is chronic. No one should die — or kill — because of a text message.”

Forty-three U.S. states have passed bans on texting while driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Some states have made texting behind the wheel a primary offense, meaning drivers can be pulled over solely for violating the ban, while others have only made texting a secondary offense, meaning drivers have to be found violating another road law first.

Power said in her U.N. remarks that it was important to push for international laws banning texting while driving because it was becoming a global epidemic.

“Research shows that cell phone users are over five times more likely to get in an accident than undistracted drivers, and that texting while driving can delay a driver’s reactions as much as a 0.08 blood-alcohol level, the same as a drunk driver," she said. "Already, in the United States, more teenagers are killed while texting than because they have been drinking. But the problem is neither confined to teenagers nor to highly-industrialized countries; it is spreading as fast as technology.”