Distracted driving isn’t cool. It destroys lives. Older drivers know these words by heart. However, teen drivers, especially those who have just received their license, think differently. A study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transport Institute showed that young drivers may become overconfident after getting their driver’s license. So, teens are more likely to engage in dangerous activities while behind the wheel, like using a cell phone.
Related: April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month!
How dangerous can texting while driving be?
It may seem harmless to look down at your phone for a few seconds, but the truth is, a few seconds can change your life forever. There are multiple tests done every year about distracted driving. Here are some of the findings:
- According to the National Safety Council, 1,600,000 accidents happen each year as a result of texting while driving.
- The Federal Department of Transportation reports that 3,238 Americans died in 2012 due to distracted driving crashes, and 21% of 15 to 19-year-old drivers involved were distracted by cell phones.
- According to the NHTSA, drivers in their 20s make up 27% of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes.
- University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, UMTRI, stated that a quarter of teens responded to a text message one or more times every time they drive. About 20% of teens and 10% of parents admitted to engaging in a multi-message text conversation while driving.
Related: Hands-Free Devices May Not Be As Safe As We Thought
Cell phones are important but not as important as our lives
There is no argument that cell phones have become a necessity in today’s society. We have one, our children have one and even our grandparents have one. Cell phones are everywhere! However, these palm-sized gadgets are the leading cause for car accidents, and they could cost someone’s life. While you are driving, merely reaching for a phone that you dropped, reading or responding to a text message, answering a call or liking someone’s post online, robs crucial seconds of your attention from the road. This could be deadly. These are perfect examples of why we should help teen drivers recognize these as dangerous driving habits. What’s at stake is more than their license, their safety and the safety of others is what they are risking every time they look away from the road.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I believe we should explain to our kids why they should not use their phone and drive at the same time. We should also talk to them about the driving laws here in Kentucky as well as penalties for distracted driving. The more we tell them now, the fewer distracted driving accidents that will happen later.