News 9's Chris McKinnon Puts Texting & Driving To The Test

Thursday, May 2nd 2013, 6:58 pm
By: News 9

You probably see it happen every day -- drivers looking down at their phone instead of keeping their eyes on the road ahead. Some of those drivers sway across the traffic lines. Others speed up and slow down. While driving across the metro, News 9's cameras caught it all.

A proposed law to specifically ban texting while driving may have failed in the state legislature, but advocates are keeping the conversation alive.

Several law enforcement agencies in the area have given mixed reviews on a proposed ban, disagreeing over whether or not it would produce results. One thing they tend to agree on is that texting while driving does put yourself and other drivers at risk.

4/24/2013 Related Story: Red Tape Means Red Light For Texting And Driving Laws

News 9 took its cameras to OSU-OKC's Precision Driving Training Center to find out how much of a distraction texting while driving is.

The first test was driving a straight line at 40 mph and looking down at the phone for a few seconds then looking up and reacting. Time and again the result was smashing into cones. In the real world, those cones could be the rear end of a semi or a child crossing the street.

Several tests later, different speeds and different distraction times created similar results.

Lead driving instructor Will Orr, a retired firefighter, has seen the aftermath of these crashes firsthand. He said he didn't know if a law would prevent people from texting while driving, but said it couldn't hurt.

According to DPS records from 2007 to 2011 more than 9,000 accidents were caused by drivers distracted with electronic devices, including 56 deaths.