Texting While Driving a Major Problem for American Teens
Anyone who knows a teenager knows full well the American youths’ love affair with the cell phone. Getting teenagers to put down their phones can sometimes be just as challenging for parents as getting toddlers to eat their broccoli.
Unfortunately, many teens bring their love for digital devices with them when they get behind the wheel of a car. A recent Consumer Reports study shows that 63 percent of young people under age 30 admit to using their cell phones while driving and nearly one-third admit to texting while driving. This reckless behavior all too frequently leads to senseless distracted driving accidents.
Surprisingly, the young people admitted to these behaviors even though the vast majority acknowledged that it was very dangerous to use a cell phone while driving.
Further, the survey found that laws prohibiting texting while driving do very little to change young peoples’ behavior.
Texting and Inexperience Make a Deadly Combination
Even without cell phones, inexperienced teen drivers are some of the most dangerous people on the road. Although youths age 15 to 20 represent only about nine percent of all licensed drivers in the United States, they cause nearly 20 percent of all fatal car accidents. In most of these accidents, the drivers end up killing themselves or other teens riding in the car with them.
Even responsible, well-meaning teens can get into trouble behind the wheel. Most accidents aren’t caused by intentionally reckless behavior. Rather, teens simply haven’t had enough experience to know how to safely control a vehicle and react to changing conditions.
Cell phone use further exacerbates the risk. Using a cell phone or other handheld device slows reaction time, takes drivers’ eyes of the road and makes it more difficult to stay in the correct lane. In fact, studies have shown that drivers using cell phones fail to process about half of the information they encounter while driving.
Cell phones are one of the major causes of distracted driving accidents in the United States. Talking on a cell phone quadruples a driver’s risk of crashing, and texting while driving can increase the chance of an accident up to 23 times. In 2009, over 3,300 Texas car accidents were caused in part by the driver’s cell phone use.
Parents need to talk with their teens to make sure they never use a cell phone while driving. It’s important for teens to understand that if they text and drive, they could hurt or even kill another person.
If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who has a strong record of advocating for people’s rights.