Nearly a quarter of all car crashes caused by cell phones


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    (NEWSCHANNEL 3) -- It’s illegal in 46 states but that doesn't stop many drivers from texting while behind the wheel.

    In fact, the numbers are going up.

    The National Safety Council estimates cell phones accounted for 1.6 million accidents in the U.S. last year, that's about a quarter of all crashes.

    In the time it takes to look down and send a text, a driver can travel the distance of a football field.

    The amount of fatal crashes from distracted driving increased by nearly 9 percent last year and police across the country are getting creative trying to catch those texting and driving.

    Some are posing as panhandlers, others ride shot gun in school buses and some communities are using police on bicycles to catch those violating the law.

    “They are driving just like a drunk driver see them weaving you see them go over the center line,” said Lt. Cary Hopkins with the Tennessee highway patrol.

    Police say since many people know it's illegal, they try to hide it, holding the phone down low, making it even more dangerous since their eyes are completely off the road.

    In Michigan, a first time distracted driving offense will cost you 100 dollars. After that it jumps up to 200 dollars.

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