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Texting beats drinking among hazards for teen drivers

Teens in Pennsylvania need to be cautioned about texting while driving and not just the standard admonishment to not drink and drive. Although intoxication remains a killer of teenagers behind the wheel, at approximately 2,000 deaths per year, the distraction caused by texting on mobile devices now contributes to about 3,000 car accident deaths among teenagers every year.

Almost any activity involving a mobile telephone creates risks while driving a vehicle. The chances of being in a car accident increase 2.8 times when a driver initiates a call by selecting a contact. Simply reaching for a device multiples the risk by 1.4. Studies of young drivers indicate that their reaction times become equivalent to a 70-year-old person when they are texting on a cellphone. Additionally, eye-tracking studies find that using a mobile device shifts a driver's eyes off the road by an average of five seconds. At 55 mph, a vehicle could move the length of a football field without the driver looking at the road.

Even before the rise of cellphones, the leading cause of death among teenagers was car accidents. Statistics reveal that 20 percent of 16-year-old drivers will be in a car accident within their first year behind the wheel. .

With the evidence mounting about the dangers of texting while driving, especially among teenagers, parents should warn their teenage drivers about the risks that are involved. Unfortunately, despite all efforts, accidents will continue to take place. A person injured in a car crash caused by a distracted or intoxicated young driver may want to speak with a personal injury attorney about the available methods for seeking compensation.

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