Texting behind the wheel might soon be illegal if the US Senate has its way.
The legislation comes on the heels of a report released Monday which found that drivers are 23 times more likely to have an accident if texting while driving.
“Texting while driving is not just a bad habit, it’s a deadly one,” Senator Schumer said at a press conference today. "The legislation will send an important message to drivers across the country: Get your hands off the cell phone and back on the wheel."
The sponsoring senators suggested that messaging with a cell phone while operating a vehicle is potentially even more dangerous than driving intoxicated. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) of Louisiana said new technology “cries out” for national attention.
The dangers of texting behind the wheel have received increased attention after several high profile accidents in which text messaging was thought to be to blame.
Fifty people were injured in Boston when one subway trolley collided with another in May, allegedly because the conductor was texting his girlfriend at the time of the accident. Last September, 25 people were killed in southern California in a commuter rail accident that has also been blamed on texting.
Under the proposed legislation, states would be required to pass their own bills banning texting and e-mailing while driving within two years or risk losing federal highway money. States would also set their own penalties and fines. Already, 14 states have banned texting while driving.
Follow us on Twitter.