The rules on texting are changing - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

The rules on texting are changing

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Alabama has a state law banning texting while driving. In the theater, we're warned to turn off phones before the show. And if you're walking down a busy street or hallway it's courteous to look up and acknowledge people.

For every rule, someone will find a way around it. The world is changing so we can text. People just can't seem to put down their phones. Since some people insist on texting at all times, the rules have modified.

"The same brain areas that light up when someone is addicted, they also light up for texting addiction, so the same brain area is involved with alcohol addiction, gambling addiction, texting and electronic addiction," said Doctor Depsina Stavrinos, an assistant professor in the University of Alabama's Department of Psychology.

She's partcipated in several studies proving just how dangerous texting and driving can be.

Now there's designated texting. In Florida, the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority launched a campaign encouraging people to let their passengers text for them.

Stavrinos says designated is a better choice than texting and driving, but she's not convinced it's completely safe.

"Where I'm still a little bit concerned when it comes to designated texting is that cognitive distraction that's still at play. You're still having to think through the text message and say it to the person sitting next to you," she said.

Then there's texting an walking. In Delaware, large stickers were placed on the ground that read "look up. Drivers aren't always looking out for you."

In Philadelphia, the city designated texting and walking lanes, or "e-lanes", as an April fools joke. But the joke sparked serious discussion about whether texting lanes are really needed.

Stavrinos says the challenge is not finding ways to enable people to text more, but finding ways to help them scale back.

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