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Teenagers still text and drive despite being warned of dangers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a national survey recently that may be startling to eastern Tennessee drivers. When asked, 58 percent of high school seniors and 43 percent of high school juniors confirmed that they had texted or emailed while driving in the past month. This comes at a time when distracted driving amongst teens makes up 16 percent of all teen motor vehicle deaths. The study is startling, and suggests that these distracted driving accidents will only increase.

A distracted driver is extremely dangerous. Texting and driving can lead to car accidents that cause personal injury and death. Victims of these crashes often face painful recovery, financial setbacks and emotional distress. Since victims may be able to recover compensation for their pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages, drivers who text and drive have a lot to lose, too, not to mention the risks they pose to their own physical well-being.

Although several states have made texting while driving illegal, the laws are difficult to enforce. If the threat of a ticket will not deter teens from texting, then perhaps more awareness programs should be implemented. However, even awareness programs could have little effect on teenagers.

"Nothing seems to stop them," one mother whose son was involved in a distracted driving crash said.

Harsher penalties, both criminal and civil, could act as a stronger deterrent. Teens who know their texting may result in jail and financial losses may see that as a reason to stop.

Source: KnoxNews, "CDC: Older teens often text while behind the wheel," Mike Stobbe, June 7, 2012

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