How long does it take to check a text?

An online pledge campaign called TXT L8R, set up by Central Oregon’s KTVZ, is asking drivers to commit to putting the phone down.

“When you take your eyes off the road for up to five seconds just looking at a text, you may have covered the distance of a football field,” said Central Oregon’s U.S. Representative Greg Walden, speaking in support of the safe driving initiative.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirms this information: sending or checking a text takes your eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds – “the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.”

Oregon law actually prohibits texting and use of mobile devices for all drivers, with some exceptions for employment and safety. But overall, U.S. drivers are dangerously distracted: nearly 5,500 deaths and 450,000 serious injuries were linked to distracted driving in 2009.

Many of us admit to checking or sending a text while driving, despite the danger and the illegality. Next time you reach for your phone to check a text, ask yourself – would I drive down a football field blindfolded?

Do your part to keep Oregon roads safe – sign the pledge at