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Print 39 comment(s) - last by Fracture.. on Nov 19 at 10:50 AM

Teenagers admit to increased texting and driving habits

Nearly 1 in 4 teenage drivers admit to texting while driving, with half of all teenagers admitting they've been in a vehicle with a teenage driver who was texting.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research numbers indicate drivers under the age of 20 had the highest number of distracted-driving fatalities in 2008.  In the No. 2 spot, according to research, are the drivers between the ages of 20 to 29.

In motor accidents related to distracted driving, 5,870 people were killed and 515,000 injured in 2008 from drivers who were texting, talking, or otherwise distracted while driving.

However, the NHTSA research doesn't differentiate between reading and sending text messages, with some teenagers admitting they're more likely to read -- not respond -- to text messages while driving.

Auto analysts believe the number of teenage drivers texting could be significantly higher than currently reported.

Despite understanding the possible dancers of texting and driving, teenagers admit they know it's dangerous -- and illegal  in some states -- but continue to do it anyway.

Many adults also admit to texting and talking while driving, and do not project safe driving habits to their children, according to safety experts.

As the popularity of texting continues to increase, there is a concern texting while driving will also increase through 2010.  Ford and other automakers have led educational campaigns against texting and driving, but its efforts have largely gone unnoticed.



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Make it against the law
By Kosh401 on 11/17/2009 6:32:34 PM , Rating: 1
Just make it against the law. Education is fine and important, but might as well go all the way and make it illegal everywhere. Fear of reproductions (aside from death by stupidy) and the extra awareness would help I think. Here in Ontario, we can't text and we need hands-free sets to talk while on the roads or face fines.

Probably similar to seatbelts and trying to make wearing them the norm.




RE: Make it against the law
By Morphine06 on 11/17/2009 6:37:09 PM , Rating: 3
I have a healthy fear of reproduction, yet I still have two kids...


RE: Make it against the law
By Kosh401 on 11/17/2009 6:58:32 PM , Rating: 1
Ah, touche! No edit button ><

Meant "repercussions" and not "reproduction" =)


RE: Make it against the law
By jordanclock on 11/17/2009 11:55:32 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, I think the comment is better as you submitted it.


RE: Make it against the law
By Spookster on 11/17/2009 6:42:58 PM , Rating: 2
Seems to me there are already traffic laws that cover it just not explicitly. Lawmakers can create all the new laws they want but it doesn't do any good if law enforcement doesn't enforce them. They should enforce the laws they already have on the books and implement much harsher penalties for violating them. Enforcement and strong penalties in my opinion is the only thing that gets through to people. If they are afraid of what will happen if they get caught they are less likely to do it. Texting while driving can probably classified under wreckless driving so if the penalty was a $50 fine most people aren't really going to care if they get caught. But if the penalty was lose your license for 1 year then they are likely going to take it a bit more seriously and have second thoughts about doing it.


RE: Make it against the law
By aj28 on 11/17/2009 7:40:21 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with that approach is that it opens up such laws to much broader interpretations, and you will land yourself with more and more citizens in court contesting their tickets. Regardless of whether or not they win, it takes up police officers' valuable time when they should be out on the road trying to prevent other accidents from occurring.

Specific laws with specific ramifications are a must.


RE: Make it against the law
By The0ne on 11/17/2009 8:10:02 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, "broader interpretations" is not what we need. Our jails are full here in CA, please for God and/or Darwinism sake don't just throw people in jail for the heck of it :/ If they are, at least provide use with youtbe videos of them being taser so we can have a short laugh.


RE: Make it against the law
By ggordonliddy on 11/19/2009 12:14:56 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
wreckless driving

The lack of a wreck sounds quite safe.


RE: Make it against the law
By Dorz on 11/17/2009 8:39:15 PM , Rating: 2
"Just make it against the law."

Doesn't work. Driving while using your phone in the UK is completely against the law, yet everyday you will find lots of people still doing it. People are prepared to take the risk to a) not get caught by the coppers and b) not be involved in a collision. Some of the worst people for doing it are builders in their vans, teenagers obviously and business people in their BMWs/mercs.


RE: Make it against the law
By Boze on 11/18/2009 10:55:14 AM , Rating: 2
That's because your government doesn't make the penalty harsh enough, and then doesn't enforce it well enough.

When I was in the Navy a few years back, driving on base while talking on a cell phone or texting while driving became illegal. The penalty for being caught doing so was losing your base driving privileges for the entire time you were stationed at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base. If you had two months left until you departed the base, you might not care. If you had just transferred there, the thought of walking everywhere on base for the next three to five years might make you reconsider.

And yes, there were many people who lost their base driving privileges. The smart people would just put their blinkers on, pull off the side of the road onto the shoulder, and answer their call or reply to the text.

Cellphones weren't ubiquitous when I was a teen, although they did exist, and I did have one. A crappy old grayscale LCD Nokia, and yet I never once answered the thing while driving. I still don't answer my cell phone or reply to a text while driving. I think the penalty should be in direct response to the dangerousness of your age group. If you're in the highest risk group for distracted driving accidents, you lose your license until you reach the next group, i.e., get busted texting at age 17, you lose it till age 20. Get busted at age 24, you lose your license until age 30.

People would wake up really quickly. And it seems the world over, people don't understand that operating a motor vehicle is not some intrinsic human right we all have, its a privilege our federal, state, and/or local government allows us to have.


RE: Make it against the law
By marvdmartian on 11/18/2009 1:28:48 PM , Rating: 1
Yep, just goes back to enforcement, or lack of it.

The air force base where I work has the same regulation. Guess who I find talking on their phone and driving, much more so than the regular workers? The security patrols!! No way they can enforce it very well, if they themselves are guilty of the same thing, right?

Sadly, tests have shown that texting and talking while driving are a big enough distraction as to be equivalent to driving drunk. Yet, our federal government was willing to come out and tell the states they'd lose federal highway funds if they didn't pass and enforce laws outlawing DWI/DUI (and later, lowered the limit to 0.8), but won't do the same for cell phones. Until there's a concerted effort by people to bitch about cell phone use while driving, you won't see that either.


RE: Make it against the law
By Yawgm0th on 11/18/2009 2:59:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That's because your government doesn't make the penalty harsh enough
The inherent risks of distracted driving are far more serious than any legal repercussions.
quote:
That's because your government doesn't make the penalty harsh enough, and then doesn't enforce it well enough.
The British government is already far too invasive when it comes to traffic laws.

In the military things are different and for good reason. Outside of the military, most Americans, "left or "right", want non-intrusive government that isn't out to get them for every potentially poor choice they make.

quote:
People would wake up really quickly. And it seems the world over, people don't understand that operating a motor vehicle is not some intrinsic human right we all have, its a privilege our federal, state, and/or local government allows us to have.
I bet there would be fewer thefts if limb dismemberment were the punishment.

Laws need to have justice in mind at least as much as deterrence. The punishment you describe is far too harsh for texting or talking. Yes, cell phone usage increases the risk of an accident. Driving itself has an inherent risk, and while we should seek to mitigate that, there is no way to legislate it all away without banning cars. Drunk driving has some pretty serious penalties (in most states), but not enough to eliminate it.

Texting laws in particular are so hard to enforce (compared to drunk driving, seatbelt, speeding, and similar safety laws) that it's almost moot. The chances of getting caught are less than the chances of getting in an accident. Moreover, the potential consequences of getting in said accident are much greater than the legal consequences of being caught, even under your proposal.


RE: Make it against the law
By Reclaimer77 on 11/17/2009 8:53:13 PM , Rating: 2
It's not going to matter because you can't enforce it anyway. And I don't know how you do things in Canada, but you aren't going to be able to make the penalty severe enough to warrant a change for most people.

Good grief people, haven't we learned by now that you can't curb behaviors with laws ? It just doesn't work.


RE: Make it against the law
By Reclaimer77 on 11/17/2009 8:53:13 PM , Rating: 2
It's not going to matter because you can't enforce it anyway. And I don't know how you do things in Canada, but you aren't going to be able to make the penalty severe enough to warrant a change for most people.

Good grief people, haven't we learned by now that you can't curb behaviors with laws ? It just doesn't work.


RE: Make it against the law
By jonmcc33 on 11/18/2009 8:20:24 AM , Rating: 2
Well, seatbelts save lives where as texting causes accidents. I really think they should make a law that anyone caught texting will get a mandatory loss of driver's license for 1 year. That might change the minds of some of those kids.


RE: Make it against the law
By Yawgm0th on 11/18/2009 2:39:02 PM , Rating: 2
To be an effective deterrent, a law has to be enforceable.

I am more likely to die or be injured from driving while texting than to be caught texting while driving by law enforcement. The repercussions from the former are a lot more concerning than the repercussions from the latter.

Seatbelts are different because you are wearing or not wearing them as a constant. Texting while driving might mean you spend 5% of the drive looking at your phone, and you can do it somewhat discreetly. A police officer can easily tell if you have a seatbelt on. For him to catch you in the act of texting is much more difficult.

The only way to prevent texting while driving would be to prevent the technology from working while the phone is traveling at certain speeds.


RE: Make it against the law
By FITCraparo on 11/18/2009 8:20:08 PM , Rating: 2
or implement an app like this

http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/37...

your gonna have to make a saftey feature to unlock it case of emergency


pls note...
By The0ne on 11/17/2009 6:12:29 PM , Rating: 2
Teens will be teens no matter what. They are invincible in their own opinions.




RE: pls note...
By OrSin on 11/17/2009 6:25:13 PM , Rating: 1
Texting is not going away. Phone makers need to get on the ball with some program to send voice messages as text and translate text back to voice. And yes I know they can just call, but that is not happening.


RE: pls note...
By PrinceGaz on 11/17/2009 6:59:04 PM , Rating: 2
Converting SMS messages to speech already happens with my home landline. My home-phone is not text-message capable, but if anyone sends an SMS to it, I receive an automated voice phone-call from my network-provider which reads out the text-message to me (the text-to-speech software understands all the usual text abbreviations and speaks them out in full). Whilst I can't send a text-reply on my phone (text-to-speech is one thing, but speech-to-text is much more difficult and unreliable) it would be trivial to add the option for the mobile-phone itself to be able to convert text-messages to speech whilst in "driving" mode, such that text-messages are received normally but automatically played as a one-way voice-call.

Sending text-messages whilst driving is clearly crazy, and ideally all incoming calls (voice, or text converted to voice) would be answered only after pulling over and stopping, but receiving texts as voice-calls would be better than a driver actually taking their eyes off the road to read a message on the phone's screen.


RE: pls note...
By walk2k on 11/17/2009 6:46:03 PM , Rating: 3
Ban teens from driving period.


RE: pls note...
By Spoelie on 11/18/2009 6:39:26 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Ban teens from driving during their period.
There, fixed it for you, damn not having an edit button.


RE: pls note...
By Boze on 11/18/2009 11:00:09 AM , Rating: 2
No, its a terrible idea to punish an entire group for a selection of that group's actions. Just punish the ones that are being unsafe and that's enough.


RE: pls note...
By Fracture on 11/19/2009 10:50:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
drivers under the age of 20 had the highest number of distracted-driving fatalities in 2008. In the No. 2 spot, according to research, are the drivers between the ages of 20 to 29.
I think the problem most of us are having is that this study mistakenly correlates age as a determining factor.

The title should be " Texters More Likely to be Distracted While Driving, Even With Increased Safe Driving Efforts" . At this point you would say "well, duh" and you'd be right. The actual causality of the crashes is due to the technology, and the correlation is that young people are more likely to use technology.

Therefore age is an irrelevant factor and it is the technology putting people at risk, no matter what the age of the user.

For that matter, think of all the accidents actually caused by age-related issues. Racing cars is just unwise, leading to higher teen deaths but is not truly age-related. However those senior moments where drivers mistake the accelerator for the brake seem to happen all the time. Go ahead, youtube it. Old people are dangerous without any other factors involved.


RE: pls note...
By Johnmcl7 on 11/17/2009 7:15:04 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure there's plenty people of other age groups still texting, in the UK using a mobile phone while driving has carried penalty points for a while now but plenty of people of all ages still do it.

On a different note, there's a typo in the article "possible dancers"


RE: pls note...
By Boze on 11/18/2009 10:58:09 AM , Rating: 2
They can be teens with no license till age 30 then. Maybe walking everywhere for the next 12 to 14 years will make them reconsider talking or texting on a cell phone.


RE: pls note...
By Yawgm0th on 11/18/09, Rating: 0
Don't most cell phones have GPS now?
By Pneumothorax on 11/17/2009 11:20:03 PM , Rating: 2
Just put a "speed limiter" on texting. If a cell phone senses it's moving faster than 10mph, cut off texting.




RE: Don't most cell phones have GPS now?
By NordicNINE on 11/18/2009 12:00:42 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. If people aren't smart enough to not text while driving, then make the phones stop working while moving.
My GPS does that. It doesn't let you touch the screen while moving. I can't believe people think they can handle it.
Heck, even if there is a fraction of a percent chance that I could kill someone each time I would text, I wouldn't and I don't. It's like russian roulette. You can not say it's 100% safe and you can't kill anyone because you look down for a second. Still not worth it. That person you kill is someone's husband, wife, son, daughter, etc....


By acase on 11/19/2009 10:06:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Heck, even if there is a fraction of a percent chance that I could kill someone each time I would text, I wouldn't and I don't. It's like russian roulette. You can not say it's 100% safe and you can't kill anyone because you look down for a second. Still not worth it.


Well then I have to assume you do not check the time, change the radio station, adjust the a/c or heat, or even blink when you drive as well.


By Techno Pride on 11/18/2009 5:20:00 AM , Rating: 2
That means I can't text while I'm in a cab, bus or taking the metro?

I'll simply buy a phone without that silly function. I believe those that talk/text during driving will do the same thing.


Distracted driving fatalities
By grandpope on 11/17/2009 8:20:52 PM , Rating: 2
I sure would like to know how they attributed these deaths to distracted driving... it's not like they can ask the drivers what killed them.




RE: Distracted driving fatalities
By scrapsma54 on 11/17/2009 11:37:24 PM , Rating: 2
Teenagers need to wisen up and call people.


RE: Distracted driving fatalities
By Fracture on 11/18/2009 10:08:37 AM , Rating: 2
They search phone records now.

<Text sent at 9:45 am>
<Crash happens at 9:46 am>

This has been used in cases of bus drivers etc already.


RE: Distracted driving fatalities
By Yawgm0th on 11/18/09, Rating: 0
ItyNot just Teens...
By CrazyBernie on 11/17/2009 11:07:01 PM , Rating: 2
Stupidity has no age limit.




RE: ItyNot just Teens...
By CrazyBernie on 11/17/2009 11:22:55 PM , Rating: 2
Nice. And here I just though I accidentally hit the back button.


It's not just teens...
By CrazyBernie on 11/17/2009 11:08:08 PM , Rating: 3
I've seen plenty of "Adults" doing the same thing.

Stupidity has no age limit.




Make it impossible
By DarthKaos on 11/18/2009 11:16:23 AM , Rating: 2
If it is dangerous, cell phones should be required to have a way of becoming unable to text while inside a car. A signal that can't be turned off that only the car and phone can send and receive. When a phone enters the car texting is disabled. Sure it would be sad for the passengers but they will live (no pun intended).




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