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Texting while driving tops list of teen driver fatality causes

Oct 15, 2014 - Articles - by Dodson & Hooks, APLC

Adults often accuse teens of believing they are invincible, as teens often participate in dangerous activities without thought to the harm that could befall them. One of the more dangerous habits that many teens have developed is sending text messages while driving. Despite the constant barrage of warnings about the dangers of distracted driving, teens who spend their days sending text messages seem to think nothing of continuing their text conversations while driving. A study released in May 2013 revealed that texting and driving has become the leading cause of teen driver fatalities.

More teens texting and driving

Researchers from Cohen Children’s Medical Center examined nationwide motor vehicle accident data and the results of driver behavior surveys for the study. Researchers found that over 3,000 teens die annually because they are texting and driving, and another 300,000 suffer injuries. The study’s authors noted that between September 2010 and December 2011, of 8,947 15 to 18 year-old drivers surveyed across the U.S., 49 percent of males and 45 percent of females admitted to sending text messages while driving. The practice seems to increase with age, as well. The study found that only 24 percent of 15 year-olds sent text messages while driving, while 58 percent of 18 year-old drivers who admitted to doing so.

Distracted driving more common than impaired driving

Texting and driving has surpassed drinking and driving as the leading cause of death for teen drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 2,700 teens die in alcohol-related auto accidents each year, and another 282,000 suffer injuries serious enough to require visits to emergency rooms.

Researchers suggest that since sending text message is more prevalent than drinking among teens, it is not surprising that more teens text and drive than drink and drive. The CDC reported in the fall of 2012 that alcohol use among teenagers has declined by 54 percent since 1991, while the popularity of texting has dramatically increased. With the prevalence of cell phones in society, sending text messages is many teens’ primary form of communication with friends.

The study’s authors suggest that another reason fewer teens are drinking and driving than texting and driving is the strong societal disapproval of drinking and driving that has developed – a social attitude not matched with respect to distracted driving.

Speak with an attorney

Teens are not as experienced as adults at driving, and often take more risks behind the wheel. They may not understand the danger to which they are exposing themselves and everyone else on the road. Drivers sending text messages take their eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel, dramatically increasing their chances of auto accidents. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver, seek the assistance of a seasoned auto accident attorney who can help you recover just and proper compensation.

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