An attorney from Georgia recently published an article discussing the implications of texting while driving. Many states across the United States have now passed laws banning texting while driving. Consequences are severe and almost every legislator is using the Reggie Shaw accident as the prime example of what can happen to anyone texting and driving and the consequences to be faced under such circumstances. I doubt that anyone would disagree that such behavior should be illegal and punished with severe consequences. However the attorney argues that similar research should be attached to GPS devices in automobiles. He comments, “The GPS has a visual display screen that demands that you look at it. How many seconds do you have to look at a GPS unit while it’s directing you to your destination? It only takes a single second of inattention to cause an accident. The thing that makes the GPS more dangerous (in my opinion) is that you can’t really stop using it while driving, or pull off the road. Because if you pull off the road, you’re no longer moving toward your destination, and to stop moving kind of defeats the purpose of using the GPS.” The Georgia Attorney cites the groundbreaking University of Utah study which says “people really do take their eyes off the road — often for the same amount of time it takes to drive the length of a football field. Imagine doing that blind. And the cognitive distraction is part of what makes it so dangerous.” Dr. David Strayer, who conducted the research at the University of Utah about texting and driving, commented on NPR that he tracks the eye movement of drivers while they are texting. “In terms of accident risk, you’re more likely to be hit by someone who’s text messaging than someone who’s drunk,” Strayer says. “And that’s a pretty alarming statistic.” If it’s true that someone takes their eyes off of the road for the same amount of time to text as they do to utilize their in-vehicle GPS systems, should GPS systems also be included in the legislation that bans texting while driving? While no conclusive evidence has been shown that would indicate that GPS systems create the same dangerous situation that texting and driving does, the Attorney from Georgia makes an interesting point connecting the research of Dr. David Strayer and GPS systems. If it’s really about visual distractions from the road, then perhaps we need to reconsider which electronic devices we allow in our cars. What do you think?