Teen Texting and Driving – A Lethal Combination
Distracted driving is a nationwide epidemic and the streets of Los Angeles have proven particularly rife with danger, with an increase in texting and driving accidents—especially among teenage drivers. Statistics on these preventable accidents in the U.S. are dismal: for every day in 2012, 1,153 people were injured and 9 died as a result of cell phone use or some other kind of distracted driving.
While deadly car crashes are on the decline, the number of fatal teenage car accidents attributed to texting is on the rise. It’s not hard to see why when more than 40 percent of teens admit to texting while driving. And though California passed strict legislation in 2009 that prohibits drivers from using any type of hand-held devices, the penalty for first-time texting offenders is a mere $20 – hardly a deterrent for upwardly mobile teens.
Teens responsible for 10% of all car accident fatalities
Forty one states, including California, have banned text messaging while driving. It’s estimated that the simple act of typing and sending a text takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. Though it may not sound like much, imagine driving the length of a football field blindfolded at 55 mph – that’s how dangerous texting really is.
The prevalence of smart phones among teens, and their apparent ignorance of texting hazards, only exacerbates the issue. In fact, one in every five teens believes that texting has no impact on their driving abilities. But the reality is that while teens only account for 6 percent of our drivers, they are responsible for 10 percent of all car accident fatalities.
When you consider that two-thirds of teens own cell phones and the majority feel pressured to send email responses regardless if they’re on the road – it makes distracted driving one of the nation’s biggest problems. The bottom line for thousands of innocent victims is that distractions cause death, and texting while driving increases the odds of an accident by 23 times.
Texting, web surfing and other distracted driving
Some 16 percent of all distracted driving crashes involve teen drivers. But texting isn’t the only cause of these accidents. Last year, a whopping 24 percent of teens said they check their Facebook accounts, post tweets and surf the web while driving. Our most serious offenders in distracted driving crashes are our youngest drivers – teens who are more apt to reach for their cell phone while barreling down L.A’s congested highways and residential streets.
In light of media attention spotlighting the spike in distracted driving accidents, today’s drivers understand the inherent dangers of text messaging and web surfing while on the road. But, how many fatalities must we endure before these anti-texting laws are abided? And what about the 9 states that have yet to ban texting while driving?
Cracking down on texting and driving
The Los Angeles car accident attorneys of Ellis Injury Law encourage everyone to drive phone-free and remind you that it is illegal to text while driving in California. Highway patrol can now legally stop drivers if they suspect a cell phone or other hand-held mobile device is being used.
We remain hopeful that teen awareness programs and stricter law enforcement will help reduce the number of texting and driving accidents in Los Angeles and across the nation.
Please pledge to never to text and drive. For more information and to take the pledge, please visit: