With the advent of the smartphone, life has become much easier for all of us. We can now make a phone call, text, access social media sites and other pertinent applications all from one device. While the advances in the cellphone industry are amazing, they have come with dire consequences. Texting while driving has now become the leading cause of death of teenagers in the United States, overtaking drunk driving. Nearly every teenager looks forward to driving, it represents independence and freedom. While this new found freedom is great for the teenage driver, it represents fear and sleepless nights for parents.
Today, not only does a parent have to worry about how their teenage son/daughter is driving but what they are doing while they are driving. In the past, the biggest fear of a parent was whether their child was drinking and driving, which is the cause of over 2,700 deaths and 282,000 treated for injuries, per year (Ricks 2013). As a result, drinking and driving has been the leading cause of deaths among teenagers for the past 30 years. However, per the CDC, since 1991, drinking and driving among teenage drivers has dropped over 54%, while 50% of teens between the ages of 15-18 admit to texting while driving (Ricks 2013).
This shift in teenage driving habits has created a whole new concern among law enforcement and parents. Experts say texting while driving can be as distracting as drinking and driving, and laws banning texting while driving have very little if any effect on stopping the practice. “Composing a typical text message is roughly akin to closing one’s eyes for nearly five seconds, during which time a car going 55 mph covers more than the length of a football field” (Savitz 2012).
Due to the technological advances of the smartphone, and the fact that 50% of all teenagers admit to texting while driving, deaths of teenagers from texting while driving has skyrocketed. The latest data shows that over 3,000 teenage drivers died and over 300,000 were injured last year, as a result of teenage texting while driving. “The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that it is to blame for 11 teen deaths each day” (Savitz 2012). These deaths and injuries now make teenage texting while driving the leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States.
With laws making no difference on whether drivers text, the number of deaths attributed to teenage texting while driving will only rise in the coming years. We can now manage our whole life from a cellphone, due to the technological advances in the cellphone industry. While this convenience saves everyone countless hours a day, over 3,000 teenagers die and over 300,000 are injured every year from this convenience. Texting while driving among teenagers is at epidemic levels and is now the number one cause of teenage deaths in the United States.
Laws are not enough, only knowledge, training and a teen driver saying “No” to texting while driving will stop this epidemic. I for one have said “No”. References Ricks D. Study: Texting while driving now leading cause of death for teen drivers. Newsday, (Melville, NY) [serial online]. May 8, 2013:Available from: Newspaper Source, Ipswich, MA. Accessed September 1, 2013 Savitz E. Naughty, Naughty: Nearly Third Of Teens Text While Driving. Forbes. Com [serial online]. June 7, 2012;:36. Available from: Business Source Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed September 15, 2013