Distracted driving practices attributed to a spike in summer deaths of teenage drivers in 2010, a study by Fatality Analysis Reporting System reports.
According to the study, approximately 45 people between the ages of 15 and 20 died each weekend from June through September in the year 2010. Such young deaths are “sobering” according to Sandy Spavone, the executive director with the National Organizations for Youth Safety. The main reason they hit so hard is because these deaths could so easily be avoided. Spavone feels these deaths are completely avoidable and it is time for everyone to work together to help teens stay safe behind the wheel.
Distracted driving can be anything from a loud radio to too many friends gabbing in the back seat. However, most of the distracted driving of today is the result of a cellular phone or other mobile device. Teens talk and text while driving at an alarming rate. More and more people are aware that texting and talking on the phone while driving can lead to crashes but continue with the risky behavior. Shifting focus from the road to a phone and back again just once is enough to lead to a deadly crash.
Senator John Rockefeller, of West Virginia, has recently submitted a proposal to establish May as National Youth Traffic Safety Month. He wants everyone to take the warnings of risky and distracted driving seriously. Mr. Rockefeller says, “More and more people realize that a text or phone call is never worth risking a deadly crash. I encourage all young drivers and passengers to focus on safety. With advances in vehicle safety and greater awareness of safe driving behaviors, driver fatalities have been steadily decreasing.”
Leading by example
Consumer Reports states that of drivers ages 16 to 21, a full third of them understand that texting while driving is dangerous, yet they admit to sending at least one text while driving. The encouraging insurance news, however, is that many will follow a good example and are far less likely to text behind the wheel when asked by family members to stop doing so.
Rik Paul, auto editor for Consumer Reports says that far too many people are distracted while driving but are less likely to do so if encouraged otherwise by parents, family, and friends. He goes on to say that any motorist should hand the phone over to a passenger if a message needs to be sent.