The idea of a nationwide ban on sending text messages while driving might sound like a great way to keep careless motorists from endangering our lives, but the harsh reality is that such a ban will probably fall on deaf, teenage ears – even if most Americans support such legislation. Reuters reports that at least one study has found that US teens often ignore anti-texting laws when behind the wheel of a car. That’s all the more alarming when you consider that inexperienced teen drivers are many times more likely to get into a wreck, either due to an inability to react to an emergency situation (lack of experience) or due to being distracted by their mobile phone.
One 17-year old student in Phoenix, Arizona has some chilling insight into teens’ perception of the ban on texting while driving. Karen Cordova said that “nobody is going to listen” to the new laws, because, according to classmate Anna Hauer, “by the time they pull you over, the chances are you are going to be done with your text anyway so they can’t exactly prove that you were texting.” And, therein lies the problem.
CHP spokeswoman Fran Clader said that sending text messages while driving is a “little bit more of a challenge to catch them in the act, because we have to see it and if they are holding it down in their lap it’s going to be harder for us to see.”
It’s a tough issue to tackle, because “texting and cell phone devices have become such a component of life for teens and for young people that it’s hard for them to differentiate between doing something normal and doing something wrong,” according to Steven Bloch, senior research associate for the Automobile Club. Text messages are so ingrained into the everyday lives of teens, that they do it without giving it a second thought.
So, the next time you’re driving next to a swerving teen behind the wheel, rest assured it’s not for lack of skill. It’s probably because they’re sending a text message. There, feel better now?