Texting while driving as dangerous as drinking and driving, experts say

SEATTLE -- Experts now say texting while driving is as dangerous as drinking and driving.

A scary fact doctors hope drivers hear.

This month law enforcement is cracking down on distracted driving and state troopers don’t have to catch you on your phone to pull you over.

“We use driving behavior, some of that driving behavior may be weaving within your lane of traffic,” trooper Chris Webb said.

Too often like we witnessed on Tuesday, drivers are texting or talking on the phone

“Texting has a 23 time increase risk of crash,” Dr. Beth Ebel of Harborview said.

Doctors say texting while driving is equivalent to a .19 BAC level.

“Lately I’ve seen a whole rash of pedestrian injuries, sometimes it’s on a crosswalk,” Dr. Ebel said.

Ebel believes distracted driving is behind the spike in injuries.

“That is a selfish decision that puts others at risk,” Ebel said.

Ebel says there is a stigma when it comes to drunk driving but not when it comes to distracted driving. She is desperate for the public sentiment to change.

“Nice people can kill people,” Dr. Ebel said.

All it takes is just a few seconds of looking away for things to end badly.

“I’ve seen lives changed in a matter of seconds,” Webb said.

That’s why law enforcement is cracking down this month but troopers say citations are not the solution.

“A lot of it has to do with attitude and lifestyle change,” Webb said.

Dr. Ebel is challenging all of us to tell our loved ones to we won’t text and drive and encourage them to do the same.