safety tips for teens
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Texting and Driving
Driving while texting can be fatal. Teens in particular don't seem to get the message.
- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that drivers using handheld devices such as cell phones are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.
- Research at the University of Utah have found that using a cell phone while driving, whether it's hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver's reaction time as much as having a blood-alcohol concentration of the legal limit of .08 percent.
- The National Safety Council reports that a crash caused by a driver using a cell phone occurs every 26 seconds.
- And researchers at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that drivers who were texting were 23 percent more likely to be involved in an accident.
Those statistics, from more than 50 research studies about the dangers of using cell phones while driving, haven't gone unnoticed. Thirty states and the District of Columbia now have laws that prohibit texting while driving. Nine states, including D.C., have hand-held cell phone driving bans.
Yet, a recent Allstate Foundation study found that although 49 percent of teens admit to be extremely distracted by driving and instant messaging while driving, 82 percent said they still use their phones when they are behind the wheel. In another study, this time by Nationwide Insurance, 21 percent of the respondents said they text while driving.
Messages as innocuous as "OMG," or "Where R U?" found posted on cell phones at the scene of car crashes throughout the country have rallied countless initiatives aimed to stop the texting.
The Department of Labor is joining with the Department of Transportation to fight distracted driving. Through the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the government is focusing on texting while driving. In 2009, President Obama signed an executive order banning texting while driving by federal employees while they are working.
Insurance companies have launched programs designed to educate their customers on the dangers of texting.
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To read more about these programs, visit: http://www.nwitimes.com/business/transportation/cars/article_760ca888-b408-5bfb-98df-4f413cbe5cf6.html
Acord, Deb. "Texting While Driving Leads to Many Wrecks." The Times 6 April 2011