Does anything make your blood boil or strike the fear of God into you faster than seeing some dopey teenager speeding along on the highway as they are texting or talking on the cell phone? Unfortunately, it’s not just teenagers who are doing this: in 2008, over 6,000 people were killed on the road by distracted drivers. Tests have found that cell phone talking while driving has the same effect as a .08 blood alcohol level, and double that for texting. If you are talking on the phone while driving, your reflexes are slower and you are more likely to miss visual cues.
The tragedy of Heather Lerch is well known. She was texting while driving in February 2010. Suddenly, her car struck a guardrail and ran into a ditch, killing her. How many times every year does a similar tragedy play out for a careless driver and a bereft family? Washington State is taking action to reduce that number. You will be fined $124 (cash, credit, debit, or check) for sending text messages or holding a wireless device while driving in that state as well as required to attend an online traffic school. And new drivers with instruction permits or intermediate licenses are not even allowed to use a hands-free cell phone. Studies have shown that making a cell phone hands-free does not lessen the distraction to drivers.
Sometimes, well-meaning parents are to blame. They often buy cell phones for their teenagers for safety reasons. Unfortunately, when combined with driving, this so-called safety device can become a nightmarish death trap that kills your children and makes you live with the guilt for the rest of your life. This happens when parents fail to have serious talks with their children about the dangers of texting while driving. Some people feel that a parent giving a kid a cell phone that results in a fatal accident is negligent homicide. In any event, it is a tragic waste.
The statistics are alarming, and if you’ve been impacted by someone else’s negligence, you would be wise to hire a personal injury lawyer in Tucson. In a recent survey by AAA and Seventeen Magazine, 60 percent of teen drivers have talked on a cell phone while driving, and 28 percent have texted. The average number of monthly text messages sent by driving texters is 23. And over a third of the teenagers surveyed admit they have been involved in near-crash situations because of distracted driving. AAA has developed a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement designed to gauge a young person’s driving habits. One prominent rule in the agreement is to not use the cell phone while driving. The evidence is clear, and the results are ghastly. Do not allow your teenager to drive and text – it is a recipe for disaster.