Thirty-nine states currently ban teenagers from texting while driving, yet young drivers continue to be the most distracted, the most dangerous and the most at-risk motorists on the road, according to a report published by USAToday.
Teens are at high risk of being involved in serious or fatal New York car accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 181 motorists were killed in New York accidents involving young drivers in 2008. Nationwide, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 20 — 5,864 were killed in 2008.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association reports that eight states — including New York and New Jersey — ban the use of hand-held cell phones. Thirty states ban text messaging by drivers. Twenty eight states ban young drivers from using cell phones, except in an emergency.
Only 11 states have no rules for either teenagers or adults — Florida, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North and South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.
Yet a new survey by Seventeen magazine found that nearly 90 percent of teen drivers engage in distracted driving behaviors, such as talking on a cell phone or text messaging. Most of them know it puts them at increased risk for an accident.
“Teens do continue to drive distracted even when they recognize the dangers,” says William Van Tassel, manager of AAA’s driver training programs. “Driving is the first real adult responsibility, but let’s face it, they’re still teens whose brains aren’t fully developed.”
The survey of 1,999 teens ages 16 to 19 found that 84 percent were aware that distracted driving increased their risk of an accident but 86 percent admitted to engaging in such behaviors, including texting, talking on the phone, eating, applying makeup or driving with four or more passengers.
Among the survey’s other findings:
-Drivers ages 18 or 19 are more likely to be distracted than those 16 or 17.
-Among the reasons for engaging in distracting behavior, 35 percent said they didn’t think they would get hurt; 22 percent said it made driving less boring; and 21 percent said they were used to being constantly connected.
-Teens driving their own vehicle were more likely to be distracted than teens who shared a vehicle with others.
Parents can find the New York State Health Department’s Teen Driving Safety Booklet here.
If you have been injured in a car accident in New York City or Long Island areas, contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Rose to discuss your rights. Call 718.261.0549.