Right now Illinois, South Carolina, Alaska, Alabama and Florida legislators are wrestling with statewide bans on texting and driving. Some laws are more far reaching than others but all of them address the growing concern that drivers are spending too much time behind the wheel doing something other than driving.

No doubt a recent report by the National Transportation Safety Board has something to do with the numerous bills floating through so many state legislatures. According to the NTSB, distracted driving is now the leading cause of fatal crashes in the United States, surpassing the number of fatal crashes caused by driving under the influence.

Some states are seeking a total ban on the use of handheld devices by drivers. This was the recommendation of the NTSB when they released their report. Other states are seeking only to curtail the use of cell phones without the use of a Sync system or Blue Tooth.

Texas state legislators have said they do not want to impose a state wide ban on cell phones for drivers but instead have encouraged cities and municipalities to pass local ordinances which do the same thing. Cities such as Dallas and Chicago already have very strict rules against the use of cell phones or texting devices by drivers, imposing serious fines and the possibility of a loss of driving privileges for repeat offenders.

The fact is, distracted driving is causing more fatal crashes. It would be great if we had a law preventing this type of behavior across the nation, but that seems unlikely. What would be even better, however, would be if people just understood the risks and dangers and instead took responsibility for their own actions. It doesn’t take much effort to do nothing; to focus on doing just one thing, driving, instead of trying to juggle a phone, have a conversation or do something other than watch the road ahead of you.

The risks of distracted driving are real, and the sooner drivers wake up to this fact the safer we will all be.

Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net