How often do you read or write e-mails -- or send or read text messages -- while you drive? C'mon, admit it!

Consumerist.com reports that the accident rate dropped significantly in some countries during the recent Blackberry outage. Now, that could just be a big fat coincidence. Or it could just as easily be possible that people really are distracted behind the wheel by their Blackberry.

You see it happen all the time in the real world. People will be stopped at a red light with their nose buried in their electronic device. When the light turns green, they don't go because they're too focused on other things.

A few years ago, I told you how I was reading an e-mail while driving -- not while at a red light, but while I was driving. When I looked up, I was a fraction of a second away from almost hitting a guy on a bicycle and really changing my life and his. That became a real wakeup call for me.

Now the National Transportation Safety Board wants a federal ban to stop all truckers from using cell phones in any way behind the wheel because of the distraction issue. Who knows what will happen with that.

As for you, if a Blackberry outage leads to an immediate reduction in accidents in places that have reported their numbers, just think about that the next time you go to text or e-mail while you're driving.

There can't be any message you need to send or read that is important enough to warrant causing injury to you or to someone else.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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