While distracted driving has increased in prevalence due to the use of texting technology, many are working to stop this activity from happening.

One Text Could Wreck it All

Texting is traditionally defined as the process by which a written question, idea, or other statement is sent to a contact through the use of cellular phone technology. While texting is a relatively new form of communication, it has dramatically increased in popularity over the past several years, especially among teenagers. Originally, texting was designed to be used in occasions in which oral conversations would not be allowed—today, however, it is used in a variety of other circumstances. In fact, some teenagers have even turned to the use of texting technology while driving a car, truck, or other form of motor vehicle. Unfortunately, this activity is quite dangerous, and can lead to serious injury or even possible death. Teens who are interested in learning more about how texting while driving can lead to life-altering events should first understand the basics of distracted driving, its statistics, and facts. In addition, the identification of different prevention methods and pledges can be useful for teens interested in the topic of distracted driving.

Before a teen can learn about the prevention of distracted driving, it is important to understand more about its basics. Distracted driving typically occurs when a motorist reads, writes, or sends text messages, emails, or surfs the web while driving a motor vehicle. In some cases, distracted driving can also occur as the result of talking while driving a car or participating in other types of similar behavior. While distracted driving can affect individuals of all ages, it is an especially serious problem for teenagers, who may not be as experienced when it comes to the operation of a motor vehicle.Over the past several years, there have been a number of studies done to draw statistics that related to distracted driving by teenagers. According to the research, approximately 46% of surveyed teens report that they have been distracted while driving because of the use of a cell phone. Similarly, around 40% of teens say that they have been in a car in which the driver appeared to be distracted due to similar processes. Several experts have found that the distraction associated with the use of cell phones may be more serious than that caused by intoxication. In fact, research discovered that while legal intoxication increased the braking distance of a vehicle by four feet, reading an email increased the braking distance by 36 feet, and sending a text by almost 70 feet. It should be of no surprise, then, that a large percentage of both fatal and non-fatal car crashes by teenagers have been linked to distracted driving. Some estimates suggest that as many as 28% of accidents in the past year are likely due to distracted driving by teenagers. 

According to the old adage, “knowledge is power.” There is no question, then, that understanding the facts about distracted driving can be an effective way to prevent the condition from occurring in the future. Many experts agree that engaging in an activity that can lead to distracted driving will increase the risk of a crash by more that 23 times. This is primarily due to the fact that distracted drivers typically take their eyes off the road an average of four and a half seconds during one period of distraction—or approximately the length of an entire football field. The risks associated with distracted driving increase even more during inclement weather, as icy or slippery roads may develop suddenly and be difficult for inexperienced motorists to navigate.Obviously, prevention is essential when it comes to decreasing the incidence of distracted driving among teens. While there have been a number of prevention strategies implemented to attempt to stop this phenomenon from occurring, the development of certain laws that make the behavior illegal appear to have been the most effective. Currently, there is laws in 43 states that limit the use of cell phones while driving, and prevent both talking and texting while the motor vehicle is in motion. While hefty fines and prison terms have produced some satisfactory results, there is still room for improvement. In addition to these techniques, some cell phone companies have made headway in the prevention of distracted driving by blocking cell phone signals when they have been identified as traveling in a car, truck, or SUV. Finally, certain insurance agencies may increase premiums associated with motorist insurance for teenagers who participate in distracted driving practices.Recently, there has been a push for both teenagers and adults alike to sign a pledge which states that they will not text while driving a motor vehicle. While this pledge is not likely to be foolproof, most distracted driving advocates agree that every bit helps. By signing this pledge, teen drivers make a concerted effort to prevent the activity from happening while they are driving or riding in a car. As more individuals agree to this pledge, the number of distracted drivers on the road is likely to decrease significantly.

Distracted driving is a serious problem that has affected individuals in all parts of the world. While distracted driving has increased in prevalence due to the use of texting technology, many are working to stop this activity from happening. Teens can commit to distraction-free driving by signing a pledge indicating this commitment to the process. With time, the frequency of distracted driving is likely to decrease.