Distracted driving a great threat to young drivers
By Nader Hussein
We live in a very fast-paced world with a lot to do and never enough time. Texting with friends, calling family and changing the song playing in the car are among the things many drivers do without thinking twice about it. However, according to distraction.gov, a federal government website dedicated to informing people of the risks of distracted driving, these are some of the most common factors associated with distracted driving.
Young people are sometimes the guiltiest of driving while doing other activities. The government reports that 10 percent of drivers under the age of 20 that were involved in fatal crashes were distracted. This is the largest proportion of distracted drivers of any age group. Also, a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that 20 percent of teens admit to having extended texting conversations while driving.
Optimistically, the number of fatalities as a result of distracted driving decreased 6.7 percent between 2012 and 2013, the last two years with complete data. Inversely, the number of injuries resulting from distracted driving increased by about 3,000.
The most common mentality amongst college drivers is that they can drive while using their phone, but others cannot. A survey of college students by the National Institutes of Health found that 46 percent of respondents believed that they are fully capable of driving their car while distracted, but only 8.5 percent of other drivers could.
All but six states, Texas, Oklahoma, Montana, Missouri, Mississippi and Arizona, have banned texting while driving. The fine for texting while driving varies by state, with the Commonwealth of Virginia setting it at $125.
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that more than nine people are killed every day in the United States as a result of a distracted driver, many states have created laws to make the streets safer. However, many people disregard those rules and continue to eat, use their phones and participate in other distracting activities while driving.