News Summary: Texting while driving ups crash risk

CONFIRMING THE OBVIOUS: Dialing, texting or reaching for a cellphone while driving raises the risk of a crash or near-miss, especially for younger drivers, a study says.

THE DETAILS: Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute installed video cameras, global positioning systems, lane trackers, gadgets to measure speed and acceleration, and other sensors in the cars of 42 newly licensed drivers 16 or 17 years old, and 109 adults with an average of 20 years behind the wheel.

BACKGROUND: At least 12 states ban the use of hand-held cellphones while driving and 41 ban text messaging. All cellphone use is banned by 37 states for novice or teen drivers, says the National Conference of State Legislatures, citing information from the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration.

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