Text messaging/data entry & reading while driving

Text messaging while driving is considered a particularly dangerous form of distraction because it involves visual, manual and cognitive distractions and captures the driver's attention from the road for extended time periods. Laws governing text messaging while driving are generally stricter than those governing phone calls because in addition to cognitive distractions, drivers are likely to take their eyes off the road more often and for

longer periods of time than when making or receiving a call.

  Mobile phone use while driving

 Text messaging- Definition

Originally, the ban on text messaging related specifically to SMS. With the expansion of services available on mobile phones, some countries have expanded this definition to include reading or entering text in any form.

  • 2009 U.S. executive order to federal employees: Text messaging is defined as reading from or entering any form of data into a handheld or electronic device, and includes SMS, email and navigational information.
  • Australia: the prohibition against using a hand-held mobile phone while driving includes: Talking, texting, playing games, taking photos/video, using any other function on your phone.


In many countries, text messaging is included in the general bans on the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving. Several countries explicitly prohibit texting while driving including ten of the 27 EU member states, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, 41 U.S. states (plus D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands), and several Canadian territories.  A European Parliament Resolution (a non-legislative act) adopted in September 2011 calls for an EU-wide ban on texting, emailing or web browsing while driving. The resolution suggests that this ban should be enforced by Member States "using the best available technology”.


An additional 6 states prohibit text messaging by novice drivers and 3 restrict school bus drivers from texting 


Traffic sign: "Don't text while driving"


In 2009, President Obama released an executive order that bans federal employees from engaging in text messaging while driving a government vehicle, while driving on official government business, or when using electronic equipment supplied by the government while driving. The order requires all agencies of the executive branch to undertake education campaigns to discourage texting while driving also out of office hours, and to discourage subcontractors from texting while conducting government business. There is an exemption for law enforcement, security and emergency services.

The dangers of texting and driving are depicted in this U.K. commercial:


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