Several months ago in this Brooklyn Personal Injury Law Blog, we discussed how common texting while driving has become despite being illegal in both New York and New Jersey. Texting while driving bans have been somewhat difficult to enforce, and many drivers continue to text routinely even though it is widely known that distracted driving is incredibly dangerous. In fact, texting while driving can increase one’s chances of getting into a car accident by 23 times.
While numerous campaigns are currently taking place to combat texting while driving, the Cohen Children’s Medical Center recently reported that researchers there believe almost half of high school-aged drivers are texting and driving.
The researchers compiled data from a 2011 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and found that 43 percent of teens responded that they had texted while driving once or more in the previous 30 days. This is very disturbing as car accidents are already the leading cause of death for teenagers, and as mentioned above texting behind the wheel greatly increases the likelihood of being involved in a dangerous collision.
The survey involved 7,833 high school students. It found that males were somewhat more likely to text while driving than females, and that texting prevalence also increased with age. Only 33 percent of 16-year-olds said that they text while driving, and 52 percent of those 18 or older admitted to texting while driving.
The researchers also concluded that laws banning texting while driving do not have a significant effect on teenagers. They believe that technological solutions may need to be developed to prevent teens from engaging in such risky behavior.
In light of this information, parents of teenage drivers may wish to talk to them about the risks of distracted driving. A texting driver is not only risking injury or death to him- or herself, but also to passengers and anyone else on or near the roads. In addition to the risk of personal injury, texting while driving may lead to and civil liability.
Source: Latinos Post, “Close to Half of Teens Text and Drive Despite New Laws and Ad Campaigns,” Erik Derr, May 5, 2013