Teen deaths from texting and driving have outnumbered those from drunk driving. A study conducted by the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Hyde, New York, revealed that over 3,000 teens deaths per year are associated with texting while driving.
In comparison, researchers found that around 2,700 teens died in accidents attributed to driving drunk. The discrepancy may have something to do with ease of access.
Dr. Andrew Adesman of the Cohen Children’s Center points out that while teens may not drink on a daily basis, they always carry their cell phones. Constant access may make it difficult for teens to ignore text messages and phone calls.
As reported by CBS News, despite education about the dangers, over 50 percent of teens admit texting while driving. Additionally, researchers found that laws against texting while driving have little impact. Fifty-seven percent of the teens surveyed admitted texting and driving, even in states where it is against the law.
The US Department of Transportation and the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration have partnered to present Distraction.gov. The website offers facts and statistics, along with real stories of lives shattered due to driving while texting or distracted.
According to the site, teen drivers are the most likely to drive while texting or otherwise distracted. Eleven percent of teens involved in fatal accidents were reportedly distracted when they crashed.
Drivers who are using cell phones while driving ate four times more likely to get into an accident. The average text takes 4.6 seconds to send or receive. In 4.6 seconds, the average vehicle, traveling 55 mph, can travel the length of a football field.
As of this month, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association reports that 10 US states, including D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have prohibited all hand-held cell phone usage while driving.
Thirty-nine states have banned texting while driving, including D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
As studies have revealed more teen deaths from texting and driving than DUI, it is essential to focus on prevention and enforcement. Unfortunately, the studies reveal little impact from educational campaigns and changing laws. Educators and law enforcement may be able to use the results of the study to develop more effective deterrents.
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