Smartphones still let teens do dumb things behind the wheel

It is no secret that texting while driving increases the risk of getting into a serious accident more than 20-fold. That statistic suggests it is far more dangerous that driving while impaired (DWI). Teens tend to be enthusiastic texters and also do not have the same driving experience as older adults, something that can spell disaster on its own. Inexperience increases the chances of the worst kind of crash. And even relatively experienced teen drivers may be more likely than adults to make the poor decision to text while driving, increasing their chances of getting into a serious accident.

In a multi-year study by the chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., Dr. Andrew Adesman, shows that smartphones “allow teens to do stupid things while driving a car.” Even though many states have attempted to curtail texting and driving, the practice continues to take the lives of texters and innocent victims alike.

Researches surveyed thousands of teens nationwide and discovered that texting-and-driving rates dropped from 43 percent in 2011 to just over 30 percent in 2013 when some states made it illegal to text and drive.

Despite the well-known fact that texting while driving kills, it is four times more common among high school students compared to DWI — a shocking differential. Even though figures appear to have dropped over time, there is still much to be done to reduce these statistics. Because this issue is largely a human behavior problem, it may take a long time before everyone gets the message.

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