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Mark Favaloro
Mark Favaloro
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How Many Times Do Teens Need to Hear ‘Texting and Driving Don’t Mix’?

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The topic of texting and the use of the cell phones while driving have made the headlines in all areas of the media, in effort to bring awareness to the public. Texting while driving is a national concern and our teenagers are the ones who are taking the most risks in doing so. Apparently teens are not seeing the real dangers of texting while driving and are approaching the problem too lightly. As technology advances, the need for making responsible decisions and taking the correct course of action increases.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and Consumer Reports are working together to bring awareness to the public and educating people about the results and potential hazards of texting while driving. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “Distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic on America’s roads, and teens are especially vulnerable because of their inexperience behind the wheel and, often, peer pressure,” Secretary LaHood said. “Behind the statistics are real families who have been devastated by these tragedies. We’re pleased to be working with Consumer Reports to raise awareness and help communities fight this problem.”

Many states are enforcing tougher laws and are alerting people as to the dangers of the distractions while driving. It seems teenagers are not taking the dangers of this behavior seriously. Comprehensive programs are being developed and implemented into educational curriculums.

Booker T Washington High School in Virginia hosted an event bringing awareness to the dangers of texting and driving where they set up simulation stations for students. It gave them the opportunity to experience what it is like to be distracted by texting and how fast an accident can take place. This was done by setting up a video that they had to watch while conducting text messages and riding a bike at the same time. These virtual experiences had such an effect on the young students, it lead them to pledge not to text and drive. Because there was a profound response from the students, more of these virtual reality type events should be offered to the public.

When we get behind the wheel of a car we are expected to do so in a responsible manner. It only takes a split second of being distracted to cause an accident or tragedy; no text or call is worth your life or someone else’s for that matter. Everyone has the right to be safe while on the road and driving.

Spreading the message about the increased dangers and educating people about how serious this situation really is can bring about change.

Focusing on our teenager is imperative; talking about the dangers of texting, restructuring our educational programs for drivers, involving law enforcement, and banning the use of cell phones while driving will make a positive difference.

April is National Distracted Driving Month, visit EnDD.org for more information. Also visit 60forSafety.org for more resources and to find out how you can get involved.

About the Editors: The Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.