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WBEN Extra: Put Down The Phone & Drive

Join WBEN's Susan Rose and Dave Debo as Nationwide Insurance and the The New York State Police demonstrate their texting and driving simulator. 

Listen in and see how well they (don't) text and drive. 

Hear WBEN's Susan Rose and Dave Deboon with the simulator, NY State Police Sgt. David Martek, and Michael Granica of Nationwide Insurance.

SEE ALSO:  A WBEN Photo Album

Above left, the Nationwide Insurance Distracted Driving Simulator, At right Nationwide's Michael Granica and WBEN's Susan Rose at the wheel. 

From the NHTSA:   Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on America's roadways. In 2011 alone, over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Texting is the most alarming distraction because it involves both manual and visual distractions and pulls your mind away from the task at hand simultaneously. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field, blindfolded.

  • 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
  • 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger. (Pew)
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Monash University)
   ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Troopers will be stepping up patrols on the New York Thruway to nab motorists using cellphones while driving.

  State Police Troop T says "Operation Hang Up" will kick in Monday and continue through next Sunday.

   Police say texting or talking on mobile devices continue to be growing problems despite the clear hazards.

   Cell phone use and texting are responsible for a significant proportion of traffic crashes, injuries and deaths.

   Troop T issued 150,000 tickets last year, approximately 4,664 of which were for cell phone violations.
(WBEN) If you think Siri-and-driving is safer than texting-and-driving, guess again.   A study by the Texas Transportation Institute says the amount of time drivers spent looking at the road decreases, no matter how they are texting.
The research involved 43 participants driving along a test track without any electronic devices present. 

The same participants then drove while texting and again while using a speech-to-text device. 

Speech-to-text actually took longer than traditional texting, due to the need to correct errors in the electronic transcription.