A new survey done for State Farm Insurance Co. showed 57 percent of teen drivers admit to texting while driving. The nationwide survey was conducted by Harris Interactive and involved 652 teenagers from 14 to 17 years old, including 280 who have a driver’s license or permit and 362 who plan to get a driver’s license. Despite laws banning texting and driving, and research showing that the consequences of texting while driving are comparable to drunken driving, it appears that many teenagers ignore the obvious dangers involved. In fact, 35 percent strongly agree that if they regularly text and drive, they will be killed someday. But interestingly, 57 percent strongly agree that drinking and driving is fatal. And more teens (83 percent) believe they’re more likely to have a wreck while drinking and driving as opposed to 63 percent who strongly agree they’ll have a wreck if they regularly text and drive.
Unfortunately, it’s not just teenagers who are “distracted drivers.” Other studies suggest that distraction from cellphone use while driving – handheld or hands free – extends a driver’s reaction as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Even so, millions of people still drive distracted each day. In fact, distracted driving is said to be responsible for more than 5,000 deaths and close to 450,000 vehicle crashes in the United States every year. It’s not good news that these numbers are trending upward. It’s no coincidence that boosting numbers corresponded with the rapid rate with which technology is advancing. Most folks believe there isn’t much they can do without a cellphone in today’s busy world.
In 2009, 16 percent of fatal crashes involved reports of distracted driving, according to NHTSA. While numbers have not yet been released for 2011, the chances of a higher fatality rate seem likely. In fact, a 2011 Virginia Tech study found that a driver is 23 times more likely to crash if he or she is texting while driving, Consider that there are an estimated 210 million drivers in the United States alone and that puts the problem in its proper safety perspective.
Sources: The Safety Report and AL.com
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