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October 21, 2011  |  Comments
Teen Driver Safety Week

Photo By  Ace Armstrong

Creative Commons photo via Flickr.

Teen Driver Safety Week

With this week being Teen Driver Safety Week, we have decided to once again bring up a subject that is near and dear to our hearts: texting while driving. As you may recall, AutoNation partnered with the Broward County Sheriff’s department on their stop texting and driving initiative.

So, why bring it up again? Everyone knows the dangers of texting and driving, right? Wrong.

According to a State Farm study last year, only 36 percent of teenagers believe they could be killed in an accident resulting from texting and driving. Of course, 63 percent of those teenagers strongly agree that texting and driving increases their chances of an accident. With numbers that low, it’s no wonder that 34 percent of American teenagers between ages 16 and 17 text while they drive.

Teenage drivers are already at a disadvantage; they are learning on the road, where mistakes are made at 65 mph. It’s no wonder 16 year old drivers have the highest crash rate among all other drivers. When you factor in that the average person is eight times more likely to have an accident while texting, teenage drivers and texting are a dangerous mix.

How can we reduce texting while driving?

Cell phone apps

There are plenty of applications that automatically disable the cell phone when it senses the car is in motion Most of these apps require a monthly charge and some have different override settings for passengers or emergency situations. To learn about the different apps available for download, visit MSNBC.com, Yahoo! Safely or Men’s Health.

State Laws

States are making distracted driving a priority in reducing the number of accidents. Thirty-four states ban text messaging for all drivers, while 30 states ban all cell phone usage by beginner drivers and 9 states ban handheld cell phone usage while driving. Click here to see all state laws regarding cell phone use and texting while driving. As of June 2010, 43 states collect data on whether distracted driving was a cause of an accident. The more states that collect information will lead to more states that ban texting while driving.

Public education

Many companies are putting serious advertising dollars behind the effort to curb texting while driving, including BMW and Chevrolet:

In addition, many car companies are adding infotainment systems that can read and send text messages without the driver ever picking up their phone or taking their eyes off the road. Hopefully one day soon, we can end the dangers of texting while driving.

About Adam Lopez

Adam Lopez is an advertising specialist at AutoNation's headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
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