Teen Texting Leads Distracted Driving Threat

Texting teenagers account for the greatest number of distracted drivers on the road, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In fact, according to the NHTSA, teen drivers involved in three to four times as many distracted driving accidents as older drivers often because of inattentive driving practices, such as <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/Accident-Due-Caused-by-Cell-Phone-Texting-Use-Injuries-Lawyer-Lawsuit-Attorney">texting while behind the wheel.

According to a 2010 analysis conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 40 percent of drivers age 18 to 29 acknowledge regularly driving while carrying on cell phone conversations. Over 25 percent of these drivers report regularly using cell phones to text or email while driving. The CDC has identified distracted driving as a growing public health concern. In 2009, more than 5,000 people were killed and nearly 450,000 were injured nationwide due to distracted driving accidents.

Over the years, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has launched initiatives aimed at raising awareness of the dangers posed by texting and driving. Last November, the DOT started the “Faces of Distracted Driving,” which consisted of a series of videos featuring people from across the country who were injured or lost loved ones in distracted driving crashes, including those that involved texting. The DOT has also looked into technology that disables cell phones in automobiles.

Individual states have also tried to curb the behavior. In 2009, for example, the Missouri Senate passed a law prohibiting drivers 21 years old and younger from texting while driving. Pennsylvania legislators recently sent a bill to the state’s governor that would ban texting while driving by anyone, at any age.

In total, 34 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have put in place texting-while driving bans. Washington D.C. and 31 of those states consider texting while driving a primary offense, meaning violators can now be pulled over and ticketed. In New York, for example, texting while driving became a primary offense in July and the Department of Motor Vehicles said it issued 4,634 tickets in 2011 through mid-September, which is more than the 3,248 issued in 2010.

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