National Teen Driving Safety Week: Texting And Driving

Oct 19

Texting and driving is one of the most dangerous activities you can do while driving.

It is National Teen Driving Safety Week from October 19-25 according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, so this week our Everything Driving blog will focus on safety issues that teen drivers face. Today the focus is on the issue of  texting while driving. 


It is no secret that texting and driving is a critical and dangerous issue that faces teen drivers. It is an unfortunate consequence of the proliferation of cellular devices among young people. When I received my driver’s license in November of 1995 cell phones were still a luxury, and the very idea of a text message was still in the future.

Things have changed, however. Now, cell phones are affordable and almost everyone has one. Many teens have phones not just to keep in contact with their friends, but so their parents can easily and quickly get a hold of them if necessary. With a cell phone comes responsibility, however. Teens must learn to drive safely while responsibly communicating with their cell phones.

A study conducted by Pew Research in 2012 found that teens send an average of 60 texts per day. This was up from 50 per day just three years prior when the same group conducted the survey. This does not include other applications that teens use on their smartphones such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Naturally, with the sheer volume of phone usage, texting and driving is a major concern for any teen that gets behind the wheel.

It is dangerous to take your eyes away from the road even for a second to read a text. Texting and driving is the number 1 killer of teenage drivers in the United States, and the group Text Kills has been started to raise awareness of this problem. The group has been active for three years and travels around the country taking pledges from teens to avoid texting and driving. They provide an interactive experience that presents the dangers of texting and driving and it is brought directly to teens. The also present the story of Wade Morgan, a survivor of a texting and driving accident:

According to Wade, his girlfriend had become distracted as a result of texting while driving and didn’t even notice that she was losing control of the vehicle. Wade was in full uniform when the Ford F-250 crashed directly into the passenger side of the car. The accident left Wade with a broken nose, traumatic brain injuries, and a fractured L5 vertebra; his injuries were so severe that doctors did not expected him to survive and actually told the family to prepare for the end. His then girlfriend suffered more minor injuries, making a full recovery.

As part of National Teen Driving Safety Week the NHTSA is proposing that parents push five rules for all teens before they drive:

  • No cell phones while driving
  • No extra passengers
  • No speeding
  • No alcohol
  • No driving or riding without a seat belt

Texting and driving is a dangerous, but extremely preventable activity. All it takes is a a little planning and responsibility to save someone’s life.

 

Travis Miller

Travis has been blogging professionally since 2006 and has been working as a traffic safety advocate since 2012.

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