Ban texting while driving: AMA

Physicians fight text messaging logo for AMAThe American Medical Assn. joined the movement against text messaging while driving, saying, “No one should have to worry that other drivers are focused on texting instead of traffic.”

The group of almost a quarter million physicians decided to throw its weight behind various state efforts to ban text messaging while driving. The group took up the headline-grabbing issue at its semi-annual policy meeting in Orlando.

Seven states and Washington, D.C., have laws against motorists using texting devices.

While bans on cell phone use while driving have proved controversial, the idea that texting and driving don’t mix seems to be widely accepted, especially in the wake of the Southern California commuter train crash apparently caused by an engineer who was distracted by texting.

“Texting while driving takes the driver’s attention away from the road, which can lead to accidents,” said Peter Carmel, an AMA board member. “A recent study found that text messaging while driving causes a 400 percent increase in time spent with eyes off the road.

“No one should have to worry that other drivers are focused on texting instead of traffic,” Carmel said, speaking for the medical group. “This is about keeping people safe on our roads.”

The powerful physicians group said Nov. 10 that it will “support additional states in their quest to ban text messaging by motorists. In addition, the new AMA policy encourages physicians to educate patients on the public health risks associated with driving while distracted with text messages and cell phones.”

Texting and driving bans have been adopted in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington, and the District of Columbia.


  1. We all need to come together in all states to ban the use of any handheld device, especially a cell phone while driving. This is a subject that hits close to home. In January of 2004, my son and his wife almost lost their lives in a car crash due to the other driver on the cell phone while driving. My daugher-in-law spent five weeks in the hospital, two weeks at rehab and about a year and a half of hard core therapies. Also, she had six surgeries as a result of the crash, and had to learn to walk, talk, and use her brain again. AS for my son, he suffers from migraine headaches every day as a result of a head injury along with other injuries he sustained in the crash. So you see, this is a very serious matter.

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