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"Nobody is going to listen," says teen

Cell phones are such a part of everyday life for many Americans that most no longer think about pulling a mobile phone out to send a text or message; it's just natural. Unfortunately, the tendency to just send text or reply to them is dangerous when driving.

Many states and cities are working on bans that would prohibit texting while driving and some are calling for a nationwide ban on the practice. A study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 1-in-4 teen drivers admit to texting while driving. Analysts believe the number is much higher than what is being reported.

Reuters reports that even if a nationwide ban on texting while driving were introduce, most teen drivers would not stop texting. Texting is so ingrained into the life of teens that they simply will do it any way according to one teen interviewed by Reuters named Karen Cordova. She said, "Nobody is going to listen."

One of the problems is that for police to write citations for texting while driving they have to catch the driver in the act. Catching people talking on the cell phone and driving is easy to do, but if the driver is texting with the device in their lap things are much more difficult.

The California Highway Patrol has issued 163,000 citations to drivers for talking while driving on the phone, but issued only 1,400 citations for texting and driving.

Fran Clader, CHP spokesman said, "The handheld cell phone is relatively easy for us to spot, we can see when somebody has their phone up to their ear. But with the texting it's a little bit more of a challenge to catch them in the act, because we have to see it and if they are holding it down in their lap it's going to be harder for us to see."

One teen interviewed by Reuters said he only stopped texting while driving after his cousin was in a serious accident while texting.

Steven Bloch from the Automobile Club said, "What I would say is that texting and cell phone devices have become such a component of life for teens and for young people that it's hard for them to differentiate between doing something normal and doing something wrong."

Texting and driving is very much like other risky behavior that many engage in when young. Young people tend to feel like nothing can happen to them, that it will always be there other people who have accidents or get caught. Cordova said, "By the time they pull you over, the chances are you are going to be done with your text anyway so they can't exactly prove that you were texting."

A graphic commercial aired in the UK to help stop texting and driving showed teens in an accident caused by texting and driving.

President Obama recently signed an executive order banning federal employees from texting while driving.



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RE: How about a scare tactic instead
By lecanard on 12/11/2009 4:32:05 PM , Rating: 3
I think they should just order the networks to shut down SMS services for a year to get these idiots to stop being so addicted to texting that they insist on risking the lives of my family to do it every freaking minute.


By lecanard on 12/11/2009 4:40:33 PM , Rating: 4
OK, a more realistic solution should be to make the fine really high. Since the probability of getting caught is low, they need to compensate with a harsh penalty. Maybe take away the license for a year too. In California the money being taken from idiots who text while driving can be used to fund the education system so people can afford to go to Universities of California again (which had to raise tuition because of the budget problems). Take from the dumb and give to the smart is a good policy. If you disagree, it's obvious which group you're in.

Sorry, this post got less serious as I went along.


By beerhound on 12/12/2009 3:59:21 PM , Rating: 2
How about this: We have the V chip that allows parents to block certain TV channels. How about a "T chip" to be installed in vehicles that would send out a signal to tell the cell phone to block all texting features while the engine of the car is running. Require it on all cars made after 2010. Then pass a law that allows the insurance company to require it to be retro fitted to older vehicles if they are going to cover a teenage driver in that vehicle. Also require all new cell phones to be programed to honor the T chip signal. How about it, would it work?


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