Surprising news recently made national headlines as a new study found that drunk driving is no longer the leading cause of death among teenage drivers. For years drinking and driving has been the biggest case of death among young teens, but now researchers say that has given way to the scourge of texting while driving.
A study conducted by doctors at the New York Cohen Children’s Medical Center found that for the first time ever, more teens last year died from texting than from drinking and driving. In fact, according the study, there were substantially more deaths associated with texting, a full nine percent more than alcohol-related crashes.
According to researchers, the average teen will send 790 text messages each month. Unfortunately, a large number of those messages are sent and received while the teen should be occupied driving a car. Another survey found that 44 percent of all teen drivers admitted to texting behind the while. The teens reported texting and driving at least once in the previous month.
According to researchers, at least 3,000 teens die each year due to texting and another 300,000 are injured in such accidents. Experts say that the problem is that texting requires visual, physical and cognitive skills, diverting important attention away from the road and towards your cellphone. While this is dangerous for anyone, it is an especially deadly combination for young drivers who have much less experience operating cars and handling changing road conditions.
Mississippi law clearly states that young drivers cannot text behind the wheel. The law says: “Drivers with intermediate licenses, learning or temporary permits; shall not operate a motor vehicle on the highway while using a cell phone or other electronic communication device to send or receive text messages, while the vehicle is moving.” Unfortunately for many teens, the allure of being constantly connected overcomes what they know to be dangerous behavior.
Experts say that the best thing many parents can do is lead by example. Though many people have at one point texted while driving, it’s critical that it not be done in front of your children. Doing so sends the clear message that you don’t actually think the habit is that dangerous, creating a recipe for disaster when your children are old enough to drive on their own.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Mississippi auto accident that was not your fault, the first thing you should do is get the medical attention you need. After that, please contact the Jackson personal injury attorneys at Kilpatrick & Philley at (601) 856-7800.
Source: “Texting now the leading cause of death in teen drivers,” by Sean Maroney, published at WSAV.com.
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