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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Texting While Driving Kills More Teens Than Drinking

The number of fatal accidents for teens caused by texting has now surpassed the number of teens killed due to alcohol-related accidents. Each year, more than 3,000 teens die due to distractions caused by texting, compared to 2,700 caused by alcohol. In fact, it is now considered the leading cause of death for teens.

The even sadder truth is that, in spite of the fact that 41 states now have laws against texting and driving and cell phone use while driving, the number of deaths among teens continues to rise. In addition, adults are not setting a good example, either. According to a recent study by Pew Research, 47 percent of adults are also texting and driving.

Statistics

The laws are for our protection and safety, but they only work when they are obeyed. Consider these disturbing statistics:

  • Texting may only take about five seconds, but that is equal to driving the length of a football field while traveling at 55 MPH.
  • At least 23 percent of all auto accidents in 2011 were the result of cell phone usage.
  • The National Safety Council reports that 1.6 million crashes each year are caused by using cell phones and texting.
  • People who text and drive are 23 percent more likely to have an accident
  • 82 percent of teens in America between the ages of 16-17 have cell phones; more than one third admit to texting while driving.
  • 20 percent of all drivers admit to surfing the web on their cell phones while driving

State Laws

While most states (a total of 41) now have laws against texting and driving, only 11 states prohibit drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving, and no states prohibit total cell phone use while driving.  It raises questions regarding the validity of laws that are only intended to limit a specific activity on a cell phone. Human nature being what it is, if one has a cell phone in their possession, the likelihood that they will text is very good.  In addition, research has shown that hands-free cell phone use is just as dangerous.

Food for Thought

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, cell phone use while driving is more dangerous than drinking and driving. It is 23 times more dangerous than driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08, the legal limit. TWENTY-THREE more times dangerous, and no states make it totally illegal. Makes you wonder.
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