A New York state senator has proposed a bill to specifically ban texting while driving. This was in response to a crash that killed 4 teens when the driver was texting.
Of course, existing traffic laws typically ban any behavior that distracts a driver or prevents them from safely operating a vehicle. But it’s probably a good idea to explicitly ban texting anyway. I’d bet that most people who text or talk on the cell phone probably think they’re still in complete control.
According to a survey by AAA and Seventeen magazine, a huge fraction of teen drivers engage in risky behavior – including DWT (driving while texting).
The survey showed 61% of teens admitting to risky driving habits. Of that 61%:
- Nearly 50% said they text message while driving.
- 51% talk on cellphones.
- 58% say they drive with their friends in the car.
(Having other teens in a car can dramatically increase the likelihood of an accident).
- 40% say they speed.
- 11% say they drink or use drugs before driving.
Whenever I see a brand-new crop of teens getting their licenses and taking to the road for the first time, it reminds me of those National Geographic specials about turtles. One night each year, on a tropical beach, thousands of little turtles will hatch out of the sand and rush towards the surf. Many get caught and eaten before making it to the sea. Many more get picked off in shallow water. And only a few dozen of them will survive the whole year to make it back to the beach and lay their eggs. And then their offspring will ask to borrow the car keys.