Exclusive: Officials Cite Education, Economy for Driving Deaths Hitting Record Lows

States Enact Strict Legislation

Twenty-eight percent of accidents involve talking or texting on cell phones, according to a new study released by the National Safety Council.

Studies have found that drivers who use their cell phones for talking or texting have much slower response times than those who do not. They also have slower reaction times than people with blood alcohol levels of 0.08.

In 2008, a passenger train engineer who was texting on his cell phone failed to obey a red signal. As a result, his train crashed into an oncoming freight train. Twenty-five people were killed, and more than 130 were injured.

Also that year, 13-year-old Frances "Margay" Schee was killed in a Florida car accident when the driver of a tractor trailer hit her school bus. The bus burst into flames, killing the girl. She was the only student on the bus.

Reinaldo Gonzales, the driver of the truck, told police he was distracted by his cell phone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that in 2008, driver inattention resulted in nearly 6,000 deaths and about 500,000 injuries.

Across the country, lawmakers struggle with the growing problem.

Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation prohibited texting for drivers of large commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving, and seven have banned the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.

ABC News' Sarah Herndon contributed to this report.

Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" Web site.

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