Texting while Driving – Are Teens Changing Driving Habits?

By now, most of us are all too familiar with the dangers of texting or talking on a cellphone while driving. Some of us may even know someone who has been in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by a distracted driver.

New Jersey recently passed laws with tough penalties in place for those distracted drivers that cause accidents that kill or injure other people. While these laws are a positive step toward changing the behavior of motorists, officials throughout the country have been focused on educating teen drivers about the risks associated with distracted driving.

A study by State Farm Insurance is showing that some of this education is paying off. More teens know and appreciate the dangers of texting while driving, and are taking steps to make sure that this is not happening in vehicles that they are riding in or driving. The study stated the four out of five teens in these vehicles will try to prevent the driver from texting while driving.

One option that is on the rise is the use of a "designated texter." This means that a passenger in the vehicle will be the one that is texting for the driver. However, this still could lead to the driver being distracted as he or she hears the message and decides how to respond to the sender.

Federal research still shows that distracted driving is a major problem. For drivers aged 18 to 20 involved in a crash, 11 percent admitted to sending or receiving a text message when the accident occurred. Officials still cite texting or using a cellphone while driving as the main reason for the increase in teen deaths from car accidents.

Source: The Washington Post "'Designated texter' enters the automobile" Ashley Halsey, III, August 28, 2012.

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