Auto Bits: Still texting while driving? Quitting might be easier than you think

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

Most Americans know texting and driving is dangerous but it continues to be a problem, especially for young drivers. While 97 percent of teens agree that texting and driving is dangerous, 43 percent still admitted to continuing to do it, according to a recent survey.

The 2012 AT&T survey of teen drivers also found 75 percent of teens say texting while driving is common among their friends and the majority of respondents said they have texted when stopped at a red light and often glance at their phones while driving. While teens might be the worst offenders when it comes to texting and driving, plenty of adults are guilty too. As the evidence continues to mount concerning the dangers of texting while driving, 39 states have made it illegal. Whether it's legal or not in your state, here are three good reasons to quit once and for all:

- Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be in an accident, according to Virginia Tech Transportation Institute research.

- Texting while driving is distracted driving. Distracted driving is a factor in 15 to 25 percent of all crashes, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

- Each day, an average of more than 15 people are killed in crashes that result from distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

How to stop texting while driving

To help people break the perilous habit of texting and driving, technology companies are coming up with unique and practical solutions for drivers. For instance, Xperia SmartTags by Sony give you the ability to turn off all distractions from your smartphone with a simple touch. These small tags can be put on a dashboard or a set of car keys and allow you to change your phone's settings for driving by simply touching your NFC-enabled smartphone to the tag.

Smartphone applications can make this process even easier. When paired with AT&T's free Drive Mode app, you can automatically disable your phone's texting and calling capability. The app can also be programmed to include an automatic message that's sent to anyone who texts you while you're behind the wheel, letting that person know that you'll respond when you are finished driving. You can program this app to run when you tap your phone to your SmartTag, while also setting your phone up to automatically run GPS programs and engage your car's Bluetooth system for both safety and convenience.

- Brandpoint

Did You Know

The original Batmobile – the one seen in the 1960s TV series starring Adam West – recently sold for $4.6 million at an auction, CNN reported.

Car Q&A

Q: I am opening a three-bay repair shop the first of the year and would like your opinion on companies that provide service repair information and help with problem vehicles.

A: Congratulations on your new venture. The first step is to listen to the customer and understand they are in your shop because they have a vehicle problem or just need routine service. I rely on both Identifix and Alldata information services. The initial cost my scare you, but keep in mind both will save a lot of time, which equals to a lot of money saved. The same will hold true for your office management system. You cannot do a professional job without the professional tools needed to make your new shop stand out.

- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist

GateHouse News Service