Text Messaging: New Car Accident Danger
On June 28, a 17 year old New York driver and her four teen-age passengers were killed as they had a head-on collision after they swerved into oncoming traffic. Authorities now think the driver’s text-messaging may be partly to blame for the car wreck.
But that driver was not alone. A recent article in the El Paso Times (from El Paso, Texas) covers a study released by the American Automobile Association. According to the AAA’s survey of teen drivers, 46 percent of the teens text message while driving and 51 percent talk on cell phones while driving. These are frightful statistics. The AAA reports that car and traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 20 years old.
Unfortunately, we see these things anecdotally in Austin. It’s now unusual when you drive down Mopac or I35 (the two main north-south arteries in Austin) and you don’t pass young drivers either on the phone or using their phones for e-mail or text messaging.
At least some lawmakers in Texas realize the danger. In 2005, a law was passed banning the use of cell phones while driving for the first six months after teens get a driver’s license. But, really, who enforces that law? It’s not going to be law enforcement officials. It’s up to parents to police their teens (and to set good examples) on these driving issues. As a result, we urge all of our clients and readers to take this information and talk to their teens about the dangers of driving while distracted so that “our” kids don’t end up one of the statistics.
For additional information, this topic is discussed on the NPR and Moderate Voice blogs.
Mainstream News Stories:
- KSPR: KSPR Tests Teens Texting While Driving (2/21/2008)
- USN&WR: Outlawing Text Messaging While Driving (2/11/2008)
- WMUR: Studies Show Dangers of Texting While Driving (2/11/2008)
- Washingtong Post: Va Considers Ban On Driving While Texting (1/12/2008)
- Boston Globe: Man Texting While Driving When He Hit Teen (12/28/2007)
- MSN: Texting While Driving? U R so busted! (9/9/2007)
- INJURYBOARD: Most Americans Want to Ban Text Messaging While Driving (8/8/2007)
- USA TODAY: Stop Text Messaging, Drivers Urged (6/11/2007)
- Seattle Times: Washington State Bans Cell Phones and Texting While Driving (5/11/2007)
- ABC: Texting While Driving Could Spell Trouble (5/8/2007)
- MSN: Should Driving While Texting Be A Crime? (Undated)
Studies (or articles about specific studies)
- Clemson University Study Shows Texting While Driving is Dumb (1/3/2008)
- Person texting while driving 6 times more likely to be in a wreck (8/8/2007)
- SADD: Text messaging leading distraction for teen drivers (7/19/2007)
- AAA Survey of Teens Texting While Driving (7/11/2007)
- Texas Transportation Institute Survey of Teens’ Risky Driving Habits
- $4.1 million verdict for woman hit by driver using BlackBerry (12/14/2006)
- City Bans Text Messaging While Driving
- Dangers of Driving While Texting
- Road Texting: An Accident Waiting to Happen