December 18, 2013 | Vol.53 N.50

Adult drivers to take a lesson from teens about texting while driving

It is against the law to text while driving in Washington State and despite the overwhelming evidence of the dangers of texting while driving it seems that people are still doing it.

The surprising statistic is that adults, not teen drivers, are engaging in this reckless behavior at a higher percentage.

According to a research study done by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety 42 percent of adults ages 19 to 24 reported sending a text or email while driving and 45 percent of adults ages 25 to 39 reported the same.

Of teens 16 to 18 years old, only 31 percent said they had sent a text or email while driving.

The scariest figure comes from those who admit to regularly sending those texts and emails. Ten percent of those ages 19 to 24 and 11 percent of adults ages 25 to 39 but only seven percent of teens admit to the same.

“Using your phone while driving may seem safe, but it roughly quadruples your risk of being in a crash according to previous research,” said Jake Nelson, AAA director of traffic safety advocacy and research. “None of us is immune from the dangers of distracted driving. The best advice is to hang up and drive.”

I have seen many stories on television news programs like Dateline and 48 Hours where people have been killed or even worse in my opinion, have killed someone else, because they were texting while driving.

I have a teen driver and I appreciate the fact that he was taught during his driver’s education courses, the consequences of cell phone use while driving. Not only can you get a ticket but you can kill someone.

“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one out of every ten fatal crashes involves distraction, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths per year, although experts agree the numbers are likely underestimated. Previous research shows that hands-free cell phones offer no significant safety benefits over handheld phones — hands-free is not risk-free,” the study states.

Is there really anything that important that you can’t put your phone away while you drive? If you feel the urge to answer that text or send that email please pull over somewhere and send it.

It really isn’t worth a life and distracted driving can kill in just a few seconds.

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