After more than a six-month investigation, the Knoxville Tennessee Police Department said the driver of a Knox County school bus that crashed into another bus, killing two students and a teacher’s aide, was distracted due to sending and receiving text messages.
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Smartphones have made it easy to stay connected at all times, including time in a vehicle. However, use of a smartphone can pose serious safety risks if someone decides to check his or her text messages, emails, phone calls, or any other mobile applications while driving.
Car and Driver Magazine has documented just how dangerous texting while driving can be. Rigging a car with a red light to alert drivers when to brake, the magazine tested how long it takes to hit the brake while driving 70 miles per hour when sober, when legally drunk with a .08 percent blood alcohol concentration, when reading an e-mail, and when sending a text. The results are, to say the least, very alarming.
- Unimpaired: .54 seconds to brake
- Legally drunk: add 4 feet
- Reading e-mail: add 36 feet
- Sending a text: add 70 feet
What will it take to drive home the point that safely operating a standard motor vehicle—much less a bus full of children—requires focus and attention, not undermined by meaningless texts and telephone calls? What explanation would the bus driver have provided to the parents of the children he killed?