Should your car disable your smartphone to prevent texting while driving?

According to one survey, 49 percent of adults admit to texting while driving... even though 98 percent know it's unsafe

Texting while driving: It's indisputably deadly, but millions of us still do it.
(Image credit: Thinkstock)

"Uncle Sam wants automakers to make it impossible for you to text your wife, check Facebook, and watch a video while you're driving," says Damon Lavrinc at Wired. In late 2011, the federal Transportation Department suggested that all 50 states ban texting and other use of your cell phone while driving. (Forty states now have texting-while-driving bans.) And on Tuesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued new guidelines urging carmakers to disable most visual-manual activities while the car is in gear.

"Distracted driving is a deadly epidemic that has devastating consequences on our nation's roadways," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who has made fighting texting-while-driving one of his personal crusades. According to NHTSA figures, distracted driving was instrumental in 10 percent of all traffic deaths in 2011 — 3,331 killed, up from 3,092 in 2010 — and a new NHTSA study indicates that texting, dialing, and other smartphone and portable-device use increases the risk of getting into a crash by up to three times.

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.