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Federal Study: Most Teens Admit To Texting While Driving

In a recent federal agency study, over half of the surveyed teens admitted to texting while driving. The findings are disturbing given the well-known dangers and the wave of media coverage and government action to curb the practice of distracted driving.

The average American teen processes over 100 text message each day. Many, it seems, send and receive messages while behind the wheel. By removing an individual’s focus from the road, cell phones pose a serious safety risk when used while driving. Texting while driving leads to a higher risk of accidents ranging from fender-benders to fatal crashes. In 2009, over 3,000 teenagers died in traffic accidents. In addition, nearly one in five teenager driving deaths are caused by distracted driving.

State and federal governments are paying a lot of attention to the problem. The head of the federal Department of Transportation recently called texting while driving a “national epidemic” and is leading a push for new federal studies, car technology and laws to curb the practice.

Study Results

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study provided the federal government’s first major look at teen cell phone use while driving. Over half of the 15,000 high school students in the study admitted to emailing or texting while driving. While the study found positive results in teen seatbelt use and drunk driving statistics, the large proportion of texting teenagers has raised alarm in the traffic safety community.

State Laws

The majority of states have banned texting while driving and some states have banned any use of cellphones or other electronic devices while driving. In some states, texters who cause accidents may face jail time.

Alabama prohibits all drivers from texting behind the wheel. In addition, all drivers younger than 18 or driving under an intermediate license for less than six months are prohibited from using cell phones for any reason. Despite these prohibitions, the study suggests that most teens are not aware of the dangerous consequences of texting while driving. Experts say improved enforcement and education may be the best solutions to the crisis.

If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident in Birmingham involving distracted driving, contact a personal injury attorney at Salter Ferguson to discuss your right to obtain full compensation for your injuries.