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Twenty-five percent of teenagers admit to texting and driving

For the last couple of weeks, readers of the Rochester Motor Vehicle Accidents Blog may have noticed posts relating to safe driving practices to adopt in the New Year -- texting and driving was the focus of one post whereas the graduated licensing system was the focus of another. Transitioning teenagers into driving is very important because their lack of skill and knowledge may be some of the reasons they are more likely to end up in a car crash.

Another reason is their propensity for distracted driving. According to government statistics, drivers younger than age 20 are more likely than others to drive distractedly. In fact they make up the largest proportion of distracted drivers in the country, and texting and driving is one of the biggest distractions they face. But the mother of a Minnesota toddler severely injured in a car accident has a message for them -- phones are not a priority, even though it may seem like they are.

A single text message almost killed the woman's son, she recounted at a conference with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. A 17-year-old girl was admittedly texting and driving at the same time and not looking at the road when she struck the woman's car. The head-on collision severely injured the 15-month-old boy buckled in the car seat and he had to be put into a medically induced coma for some time. Even though he is recovering now, he still has to take medicine to prevent seizures.

The alarming fact is that 25 percent of teenagers claim they reply to a text message once or more every time they drive. This means their eyes are away from the road for that period of time, and in a blink of an eye someone can lose their life or a loved one in a fatal car accident. An accident caused by texting and driving is completely preventable, and drivers should wait until they are no longer behind the wheel before responding to a text message. If they don't, they could end up adversely affecting the lives of other drivers on the road.

In addition to criminal charges, it may be possible to hold a careless driver accountable for their behavior in a civil suit. Though it cannot undo the loss a victim has suffered, compensation through the suit could be used to ease the financial burden associated with a car accident.

Source: bringmethenews.com, "Message from mom of injured toddler: don't text and drive," Melanie Sommer, Feb. 9, 2015

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