Teen drivers who are distracted because they are talking or texting on a cell phone have become one of the most dangerous causes of motor vehicle accidents. Despite a growing awareness among drivers of the dangers posed by cell phone use while driving, this awareness does not necessarily impact driving behavior.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a recent survey that found 94 percent of drivers agree that text messaging and talking on a cell phone is an unsafe hazardous practice while 87 percent support laws prohibiting sending, reading and composing texts while driving. However, these attitudes are not necessarily consistent with actual driving practices. A full third of the drivers who responded to the survey admitted engaging in texting and driving during the previous one month period.

Teen texting and driving serious San Diego car accident risk factor

The danger posed by drivers multi-tasking on a cell phone is even greater among inexperienced teen drivers. Car accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers, yet they are more likely than any other group to engage in text messaging while operating a motor vehicle. Forty percent of all teenagers report being an occupant in a vehicle when the conduct of a driver using a cell phone put vehicle occupants in danger according to the Official U.S. Government Website for Distracted Driving. The website also reports that 11 percent of all accidents involving teen drivers are caused by distracted driving, which is a higher percentage for accident related fatalities than any other population based on age.

Teenagers that engage in text messaging pose an especially significant hazard to other vehicle occupants. Teen drivers have less experience identifying and responding to potential accident risks. When an inexperienced teen driver is engaged in text messaging activity, the driver’s vision, mind and hands are all used for multiple tasks. The average time that a driver’s eyes are averted from the highway when receiving or sending a text message is 4.5 seconds. At freeway speed (55 mph), a vehicle can travel the length of a football field in that interval of time according to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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