Keep roads safe: Do not text, drive

An Air Commando practices unsafe driving habits at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Human Factors & Ergonomics Society found that on average, texting while driving takes place by 800,000 drivers at any given time across the country; this act has been found to slow brake reaction speeds by up to 18 percent. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

An Air Commando practices unsafe driving habits at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Human Factors & Ergonomics Society found that on average, texting while driving takes place by 800,000 drivers at any given time across the country; this act has been found to slow brake reaction speeds by up to 18 percent. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- As you all know, spring is upon us and the summer months are fast approaching. What does this mean? It means larger numbers of people will be out and about enjoying the warm weather. And activities such as walking, running, bicycling, etc. will become more prevalent in our military and civilian communities.

As motor vehicle operators, we owe it to our communities to be responsible while behind the wheel. Utilizing a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle puts other motorists and pedestrians in grave danger, as demonstrated by the following statistics:

Texting while driving causes:
-1.6 million accidents per year according to the National Safety Council.
-330,000 injuries per year according to a Harvard Center for Risk Analysis study.
-11 teen deaths daily and accounts for 25 percent of all vehicle accidents according to fatality facts published by the Institute for Highway Safety.

Texting while driving is also about six times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Additionally, texting while driving:
-Makes you 23 times more likely to crash according to the NHTSA.
-Is equivalent to driving blind for five seconds at a time according to Virginia Technical Transportation Institute research.

Human Factors & Ergonomics Society found that on average, texting while driving takes place by 800,000 drivers at any given time across the country; this act has been found to slow brake reaction speeds by up to 18 percent.

While texting and driving is illegal in the State of New Mexico in accordance with Senate Bill 19, which was signed into law in early 2014, drivers can utilize a hands-free device to talk on the phone.

So far in 2016, Security Forces has cited eight motorists on Cannon for utilizing a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle, and will continue to aggressively enforce anti-texting and driving laws.

The repercussions for military members range from being issued a DD Form 1408/Armed Forces Traffic Ticket, to suspension of base driving privileges and any other actions the member's leadership deems necessary to correct the behavior.

For civilians the penalties range from being issued a CVB 1805/United States District Court Violations Notice, which includes monetary restitution and a federal court appearance, to suspension of base driving privileges.

We all share responsibility for each other's safety while operating motor vehicles. Each member of the community must ensure to do their part so everyone can arrive alive.