Driving, not paying attention because of cell phone conversation
Did you know that teens are four times more likely than a 65-to-69-year old to get in a serious car wreck? Did you know this number is increasing and that the reasons are as clear as the coined phrase: "Can you hear me now?"
Its official: the Department of Health and Human Services has released a fact sheet stating "motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens" and 16- to 19-year olds have a higher risk of fatal accidents than any other age group. In fact, a teen's risk of being involved in a crash is four times greater than that of a 65- to 69-year old.
These statistics seem less than shocking when we consider the many factors teens have working against them. First and foremost is their obvious lack of experience. This alone could be used in justification of their high accident rates; however, one must also look to the ever-evolving cell phone as part of what's to blame.
In July 2007, I wrote of an alarming statistic: "Iowa Ranks Third in the Nation for Young Driver Fatalities." Now I look at this statistic and can't help but wonder: how many of these fatalities can be attributed to cell phone usage - in some form or another?
In the world of teenagers, owning a cell phone has become a thing of the norm and, as of 2005, 56 percent of young drivers used cell phones while driving. Quite obviously, reliance on cell phones has increased since then and so has the number of teenagers who use them while driving.
Doing so is more than just dangerous, it's downright deadly. When you're driving, your attention should be focused on the road in front of you. As many are probably aware, this can prove difficult to do when reading a text message on your cell. Cell phones are a distraction and divert the attention of the user.
In fact, 37 percent of teens claim they find text messaging to be extremely distracting; yet, 19 percent of motorists admit to doing it, while 73 percent confess to talking on their cell while driving. Shocking behavior, considering it's a well-published fact that motorists who use cell phones while driving are four times more likely to be involved in a serious crash, making using a cell phone while driving as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.
Now, the problem and many of its key consequences have been identified. However, it remains to be seen how the government and independent agencies have addressed and will go about dealing with the issue. Read on next week to find out....