Despite knowing the risks, teens still use their cellphones while driving
Teenage drivers pose a greater threat to other motorists than more experienced drivers for many reasons. For one, they are less experienced and do not always appreciate the responsibility of driving a motor vehicle safely. If their inexperience weren’t dangerous enough, teens are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors while driving. This fact was highlighted in a recent survey.According to the survey, conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions, there is a disconnect between what teenage drivers acknowledge as dangerous behavior and what they actually do while driving. The survey found that 96 percent of teen drivers believe that using a cellphone to talk or text while driving is a distraction. Additionally, 62 percent of teens said they believed that texting while driving is extremely distracting.
Despite their professed beliefs, most of the teenagers proved to be hypocrites, as a majority admitted to engaging in distracting activities while behind the wheel. The survey found that 86 percent admitted to using a cellphone and 68 percent said that they have read or replied to a text message while the vehicle was in motion. Additionally, of the teens that said that they do not text while driving, 47 percent admitted to texting while stopped at a light or stop sign.
The study’s findings are quite shocking, given the danger that distracted driving poses to motorists. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day nine people are killed and 1,060 people are injured in car accidents where driver distraction is a contributing cause.
Additionally, the problem of distracted driving is getting worse. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of injuries caused by distracted driving increased nine percent from 2011 to 2012. In all, 3,328 people were killed and 421,000 people were injured in car accidents caused by distracted driving in 2012.
Texting in Wisconsin
As a result of the dangers created by driver distraction, many states, including Wisconsin, have taken legislative action to address the problem. Under Wisconsin law, it is illegal to send, compose or read a text message while operating a motor vehicle. The law also acknowledges that teenage drivers are especially prone to distraction, as both cellphone use (including hands-free models) and texting is prohibited for young drivers that have just received their licenses.
In addition to being punishable by law, distracted driving is considered a form of negligence. As a result, drivers that injure or kill others because they were voluntarily engaging in a distracting activity can also face a civil lawsuit for the harm resulting from the collision. If you or a loved one has been injured because of a distracted driver, an experienced personal injury attorney can advise you on your right to compensation under the law.