Teenagers regularly flout texting-and-driving laws

text-drivingThe 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?

[Via: Reuters]

  • AZMac

    We created the monster, now we have to live with it. The only thing that will make a difference is to make it extremely painful to be caught doing it. You get caught texting while driving and it’s going to cost you $500 for the first violation. The second will cost you $1000. You cause an accident, it’s a mandatory 2 points on your drivers license and $1000 fine. Chronic violators will get the fine, plus a night in the pokie. No exceptions. We have to decide, are we serious about this, or are we just talking it to death?

    • Will Park

      Those are some hefty fines you’re proposing there. I can’t say I disagree, but it probably will never happen. Still, stricter punishments are needed. A $25 fine just isn’t going to cut it.

  • Ben

    There’s a good argument to say you shouldn’t be calling OR texting whilst you are driving – you have less control of the vehicle, and you are distracted, if you are holding the device….

    Over here in the UK the fine can be £1000 and points on the licence if the Police so choose – so the suggested $ fines above are low-ish compared to us.

    But they are the right level of fines – if you dont agree, let’s wait till someone you love is involved in a crash with someone who was on their phone, and see if that changes your mind…..

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