In news that should surprise no one, driving while distracted is a recipe for disaster and death. The familiar glow of a cell screen while texting or talking increases the risk of dangerous driving.

A new report by The CQ Reporter estimates more than 5,000 people die each year due to distracted driving-related crashes. Not surprisingly, young drivers, in particular teens, were the most susceptible to distracted driving. Of the distracted-driving related deaths, 16 percent were caused by teens, the highest among all age groups.

Texting while driving is a particular cause of concern. Common sense would tell you that taking your eyes off the road to respond to a text is dangerous and science proves just that. A previous study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute indicated the risk of crashing while texting was raised 23 times for drivers of larger vehicles when compared to non-distracted drivers. For cars, dialing on a cell phone raised the risk of a crash 2.8 times compared to non-distracted drivers.

Another study from the University of Utah, involving 40 participants, in 2009 studied the possible impact of driving while texting using a driving simulator. The participants that were driving while texting were slower to respond to braking lights while having some range of motion limitations compared to when the participants were just driving and not driving and texting.

David Hosanky, author of the texting report, notes that a small action like texting can cover a large amount of territory. According to Hosanky, texting caused a driver to not look at the road for around 4.6 seconds, during the time span a car can travel a whole football field based on driving at 55 mph.

While texting will actually take your eyes off the road, cell phone talking is also dangerous. Talking on a cell phone requires more thought process and can affect a person’s attention span.

Ten states along with the District of Columbia have laws in place that ban hand-held cellphone use for all drivers and while cellphones are an obvious cause for concern, new car features may also play a role in distracting drivers. The report notes the increasingly common features of GPS, web surfing and other console-mounted technology may distract drivers in the future.