During his tenure as the Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood has led the charge to end distracted driving among all drivers but especially teens. From advocating for laws banning texting while driving to publishing messaging and educational campaigns highlighting the dangers of distracted driving, much of which was aimed specifically at teen drivers, Secretary LaHood's efforts to end the dangerous practice have been many.
However, a new survey by the insurance company State Farm shows that many teens are not paying attention. Even though the majority of states have banned teen drivers (if not all drivers) from texting while driving, including Pennsylvania, the recently conducted survey found that 57 percent of teen drivers still text while behind the wheel, reports the Erie Times-News.
When asked to compare drinking and driving with texting and driving, only 63 percent of teens "strongly agreed" that regularly texting and driving will likely result in an accident, whereas 83 percent "strongly agreed" that drinking and driving will likely result in an accident. Research from the University of Utah has shown that using a cell phone while driving slows a driver's reactions to that of a driver with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent (the limit for being considered legally drunk in all 50 states).
In 2009, nearly 5,500 people were killed and another estimated 448,000 were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Sadly, the NHTSA reports the age group most likely to be involved in fatal distracted driving accidents is teen-aged drivers. Research from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute shows the accident risk is 23 times worse when a driver is texting while driving when compared to not driving distracted.
Despite evidence to the contrary and a barrage of messaging highlighting this evidence, teen drivers still appear to believe that they are capable of safely texting and driving. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney about holding the negligent driver responsible for his or her actions.