Texting Teens and DC Car Accidents

by PhilBalbo on May 28, 2012

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The use of smartphones while driving continues to be a concern, with new information about how teens use technology while behind the wheel adding fuel to the legislative battles to ban smartphone use altogether. As is the case with other driving behaviors, such as driving after drinking and the use of seatbelts, teen drivers model the behaviors they see exhibited by their parents. An AT & T-sponsored online survey of 1,300 teen drivers with cellphones found that although their parents may warn them against it, teens believe that adult drivers send text messages “all the time” and thus admitted to doing so themselves.

Backing up the data from the AT & T study are findings from both the Pew Research Center and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A recent study by the latter found that 13 % of drivers ages 18 to 20 in crashes admitted they were talking or texting on mobile devices. According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 25% of all car crashes are the fault of distracted driving. Two-thirds of all teen drivers now have cellphones, a worrying proposition in light of their propensity for using them while driving: almost 50% of teen and young adult drivers confess that they text while driving.

Young drivers often believe they’re invincible and capable of far more in terms of multi-tasking when behind the wheel than they in fact are. This spells danger not only for them, but also for other drivers on DC roads. While cellphone use by inexperienced and new drivers has been banned in the District of Columbia, as well as Virginia and Maryland, its continued use is believed to be behind a recent uptick in teen highway deaths. Car accident injuries and fatalities due to distracted driving in DC are on the rise in general, and safety experts fear that these numbers will continue to increase as more people, and their cars, become wired.

Written by Phil Balbo, staff writer at Price Benowitz LLP. For more information about these laws or a free consultation following an arrest, please contact the DC traffic lawyers with Price Benowitz LLP. You can also learn more about the survey at AT&T.

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