Many teens still admit to texting while driving

Parents, you've all seen it before - your teenager glued to his or her cellphone at the dining room table, in front of the TV, while walking down the street. It seems the opportunities for cellphone use are endless. Have you ever considered, however, whether your teen also uses his or her cellphone while behind the wheel? While many parents may assume their children would never engage in such risky behavior when driving, the results of a government survey indicated it is more common than you might imagine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted the study and surveyed teenagers attending over 15,000 high schools, both public and private, across the United States. According to the results, approximately 58 percent of seniors in high school reported they had sent either a text message or an email while they were driving during the past month. In addition, 43 percent of the juniors questioned admitted to such behavior.

These statistics are particularly concerning because distracted driving leads to the most fatalities for young drivers. Approximately 16 percent of all teenage fatalities in motor vehicle accidents are caused by distracted driving.

Avoid a fatal distracted driving accident in Missouri

As a result of the growing concern over distracted driving, every state has enacted certain laws to curb this dangerous practice - Missouri is no exception. In Missouri, novice drivers are prohibited from texting while driving. Novice drivers include all motorists under the age of 21. While this ban is important to promote safety among teens, other states have passed stricter regulations, including bans on handheld and even hands-free technology.

The texting ban is critical, though, as some estimates show teenagers send approximately 100 text messages every day. Texting while driving is particularly dangerous, as it distracts the driver manually, visually and cognitively. According to a study conducted by Virginia Tech, those who text while behind the wheel are 23 times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than non-distracted drivers.

Many teens may believe that the amount of time it takes them to send a text message is negligible; however, studies have shown it is easily enough time to cause serious damage. On average, a driver must take his or her eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds to send or receive a text message. If the driver is driving at a rate of 55 mph, sending the text message is the same as traveling the length of a football field while wearing a blindfold.

If you have been involved in a distracted driving accident, the motorist responsible for the crash should be held accountable. A skilled Missouri personal injury attorney will be able to advocate on your behalf and ensure just compensation is received.