In Louisiana and across the nation, teens are considered some of the most dangerous drivers on the road. As technology and access to it has increased, the basic risks of being a teen driver – inexperience, lack of awareness, recklessness, negligence – are being compounded by the propensity for being a distracted driver. Research is examining the prevalence of teens who text and drive and a recent study indicates that the problem is significant in the U.S.
The Center for Injury Research and Policy looked at the number of teens who are texting and driving and found 38 percent engage in the activity. Thirty-five states were part of the study. It was found that in states where the driving age was lower, teens were more likely to text and drive. If the state allows teens to have a learner’s permit at age 14 or 15, 20 percent of teens texted while driving. This number was lowered to 16 percent for teens who could have a learner’s permit at 15 to 16. For states where the age was 16, it was 13 percent. Louisiana allows a learner’s permit at 15.
Another factor that combines with age is ethnicity. White teens had a greater frequency of texting and driving when compared to African Americans and Hispanics. For whites, it was 19 percent; it was 12 percent for African Americans and 11 percent for Hispanics. It is believed that the lack of supervision for teen drivers gives freedom to take part in activities they would otherwise not take part in. Since distracted driving has been shown to increase the chance of an auto accident by nine times, the issue is worrisome not just for the teens and their parents, but for those sharing the road with them.
Although automobile manufacturers and cellphone companies are actively seeking ways to make the roads safer while accounting for people who simply refuse to stop using their phones behind the wheel, the problem is getting worse. Removing attention from the road for any reason can lead to injuries and death. When there is a crash and it is believed to have been due to a distracted driver, the investigation is key. Evidence must be accrued to show the cause and a law firm experienced in helping those involved in distracted driving car accidents should be called as soon as possible.