Hidden Camera Reveals Teen Texting While Driving
Texting while driving is a dangerous practice that causes accidents. Most states have laws that prohibit drivers from texting behind the wheel. However, a recent report by WTVR of Richmond, Virginia found that many drivers, particularly teens, have a hard time unplugging from the digital world.
WTVR installed a hidden camera in a teen’s car, with his mother’s permission, and filmed him going to school and work. Although the young man’s mother said she had talked with her son about texting and driving and thought that he would be safe on the road, the hidden camera told a different story.
The teen kept his eyes on the road most of the time, but he looked down on several occasions, and it appeared that he was either texting or doing some other task on his mobile phone. When confronted, the teen explained that his generation is immersed in digital media and that it is hard to break free of those distractions, even when driving.
Oklahoma prohibits the use of a handheld cellphones and texting by drivers with learner’s permits or intermediate licenses. However, the state has not enacted a ban on texting for all drivers.
AAA supports a general prohibition on texting while driving like that in effect in the vast majority of states. “Now 43 states have a ban, and Oklahoma is behind,” AAA spokesman Chuck Mai told the Tulsa World.
Despite efforts by AAA and other traffic safety advocates to beef up texting-while-driving laws in Oklahoma, lawmakers have not been able to make significant headway in toughening up on digital distractions. According to the Tulsa World, a significant number of the traffic wrecks on busy U.S. 169 around the Tulsa metropolitan area are caused or made worse by distracted drivers.
WTVR described the devastating grief that comes in the wake of a fatal crash caused by distracted driving. The report featured an interview with a woman whose husband was struck and killed on a highway while he was retrieving furniture that had fallen from his truck. Investigators think the driver who hit him was texting at the time. The driver ultimately pleaded guilty to reckless driving.
The victim’s wife described the pain she feels every day as a result of losing her husband to a distracted driver.
The state trooper, who was injured in the accident, said he counted himself lucky to be alive. The trooper told WTVR that when he heard the screeching tires of the oncoming vehicle, he was convinced that he was going to die. He even handed his wedding ring to another trooper at the scene of the fatal wreck and told the officer to give it to his wife.
Distracted Driving Facts
Here are some facts about distracted driving that Oklahoma parents and teens should consider:
- Texting while driving has become a greater hazard than drunk driving among teens, Newsday reports. According to a 2013 study by researchers at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, texting accounts for more than 3,000 teen deaths annually and 300,000 injuries.
- Texting takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds, stoptextsstopdeaths.org says. A texting driver traveling 60 mph can cover 440 feet in that amount of time.
- 10% of drivers under age 20 involved in fatal collisions are reported as being distracted at the time of the deadly crash, according to distraction.gov.
- According to an AAA study, teen drivers are distracted about 25% of the time they are behind the wheel. Distractions for teen drivers include texting, emailing, downloading music and videos, eating and talking on the phone.
- The federal government estimates that distracted driving is contributes to 16% of all fatal car accidents or almost 5,500 deaths a year, SADD reports.
- Even though a texting driver is 23 times more likely to get in a car accident than a nontexting driver, 1 million people text and drive every day in the United States, the Ad Council says.
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