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Distracted Driving Studies Show Mixed Attitudes Among Teens

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley joined forces with other officials around the country recently in urging teenage drivers to stop texting while driving. On May 1, 2012, which was designated as the first-ever Stop the Texts Day, Coakley, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Ad Council and consumer protection agencies unveiled public service announcements featuring NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne aimed at advising teens about the dangers of distracted driving.

Texting while driving is among the most common and most dangerous forms of distracted driving on the nation's roads today. Unlike many other types of driver distraction, texting behind the wheel occupies a driver's eyes, hands and attention all at once, creating a dramatically increased risk of dangerous accidents. Researchers have found that sending or receiving a text message takes a driver's eyes off the road for an average of almost five seconds - enough to travel the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour. Perhaps not surprisingly, texting drivers are 23 times more likely to crash than non-distracted drivers, according to one study.

Research Reveals Troubling Trends

A recent telephone survey conducted by the NHTSA revealed mixed results about young people's attitudes about distracted driving. The good news is that about 90 percent of the 6,000 drivers surveyed said that distracted driving is very unsafe. However, only about one-third of teen drivers surveyed said they would speak up if they were in a car with a driver who was using a cellphone, less than any other age group.

Even more troubling are studies showing that, while 60 percent of young adult drivers admit to texting while driving, two-thirds believe themselves to be "very safe" drivers. These findings suggest that, while most teens recognize the risks posed by other drivers who text behind the wheel, many may be in denial about the dangers created by their own driving habits.

For many texting teen drivers, the fact that they have not yet been involved in an accident or received a ticket for distracted driving is enough to convince them that their behavior is safe, according to a study by Bridgestone Americas. All too often, unfortunately, the wake-up call comes with devastating consequences: Distracted driving accidents are the leading cause of death for American teens, according to the NHTSA.

Legal Help for Car Accident Victims

If you or a loved one is hurt in an accident with a distracted driver, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn how you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries, medical costs and other expenses resulting from the crash.