Commentary: Texting while driving should be banned

By now there is more than sufficient evidence to show that cellphone use and texting while driving are killer distractions.

This week the U.S. Transportation Department banned truck and bus drivers from sending text messages on hand-held devices while on the road. Last year, President Obama issued an order prohibiting federal workers from texting while driving government-owned vehicles or using government-owned equipment. That's a good start.

Research by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has found that a typical driver takes his eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds out of every six to text or read a text. That's almost five seconds that can turn deadly.

Already, 19 states and the District of Columbia ban texting while driving, though Florida is not one of them. It should be.

Truth is, a new law won't mean instant protection for safe drivers who don't text or use hand-held devices on the road. Crash claims in some states with such bans have yet to produce a decrease in those crashes, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute.

To read the complete editorial, visit www.miamiherald.com.