Police Say Text Messaging and Driving Don't Mix

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Police officers say text messaging while driving is even more dangerous than talking on the phone, and teen drivers are some of the biggest offenders.

You can find them at any intersection, a driver chatting on their phone while behind the wheel, but those phone conversations are now taking on what many are calling a new, more dangerous twist: text messaging.

Teen driver Katie Herndon says, "I think it's ok if you do it at a light when you're not driving, but it's definitely dangerous to text message while you're driving."

And whether driving or not, text messaging is gaining popularity, especially among teens.

Sonya Howard, Universal Sales Rep. at Alltel, says, "Text messaging has come to be one of our best sellers in the last couple of months. Teenagers are really into it, adults use it, but it's really a teenage focus."

A recent report by the Allstate Foundation shows that 13 percent of teen drivers nationwide use text messaging while driving, a dangerous combination for drivers already considered "at-risk."

Insurance agent Venice Logue says, "I have a problem using, whenever I use my cell phone so I know with a teenager using a cell phone, they're already inexperienced, and you know, I do feel like that puts them at a higher risk of having an accident."

SGT Rick Singletary with Thomasville police says, "It takes their eyes off the road a little bit longer because they have to look to see what letter they want to type and send and stuff, so by taking your eyes off the road you're losing focus of what's going on and your car is still traveling at the same amount of speed as it was before you took your eyes off the road."

Cell phone reps say there are safer alternatives to talking on the phone while driving such as hands free kits, but they say with text messaging there is no safer alternative because you have to look down at your keypad.