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Officials: Cell Phone Could Be a Weapon Behind the Wheel

6:09 AM, Mar 5, 2012   |    comments
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DALLAS, Texas - We've all heard that distracted driving can cause crashes, but there's another way your cell phone can injure you during a crash - one that most drivers probably haven't thought about.

It's no secret that some people are doing a lot more than driving when behind the wheel: texting, emailing, flipping through a playlist. We know the distraction can be deadly, but police say you probably haven't realized that cell phone you're holding could become a weapon.

"You could be poking eyes out or cracking skulls, all kinds of things if that is happening," says Senior Corporal Kevin Navarro of the Training Academy.

The traffic division of the Dallas Police Department says it's seeing a lot of minor accidents with major injuries to drivers. Dallas Police Sgt. Paul Hinton and his team set up a dummy demonstration to illustrate the impact when an airbag, going 100 miles per hour, hits a cell phone.

"We've got a dummy because we couldn't find anyone willing to sit in front of this for us and we've got a cell phone, in about the area where a person would use it to text," Hinton says. "What we're going to do is remotely deploy this airbag to where that cell phone, suspended very lightly so it should go wherever the energy from the air bag sends it"

Hinton deployed three airbags and each time, the cell phone shattered and hit the dummy in the neck or in the face.

"It blew the back off and the battery out," Hinton said. "If that was a person, no doubt they would be on the way to the emergency room with some pretty bad injuries."

Officials hope this serves as another reason for drivers to keep their eyes on the road and not on their cell phone.

First Coast News would like to invite you to sign our pledge promising to be a safe driver at the Great First Coast Hang Up.