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Federal Study: One-Third of Teens Admit to Texting While Driving

A nationwide study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one-third of teenagers are texting behind the wheel. The 2011 CDC study anonymously surveyed more than 15,000 high school students to analyze their driving habits and experiences.

While dangerous behaviors like drinking and driving and failure to wear a seatbelt are seeing marked reductions, one-third of the teenagers admitted to texting or emailing while driving during the month preceding the survey. Further, while less than half of high school juniors said they were texting behind the wheel, nearly 60 percent of seniors admitted to it, suggesting that the rates may be even higher for young adult drivers.

Most teens interact with smartphones throughout the day, sending and receiving hundreds of texts a week. So it is little surprise that many are continuing to text while on the road, but the dangers are significant.

The Danger of Distracted Driving

Safety advocates, state governments and federal agencies are trumpeting the dangers of texting while driving and taking aggressive behavior to eliminate the practice. The consequences of texting while driving are well understood. Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers, with over 3,000 dying in each of the last few years, and distracted driving contributes to thousands of serious injuries and deaths every year.

The number of states and local governments enacting laws limiting or banning texting while driving has risen dramatically over the last few years. All but a handful of states, including New Jersey, now issue tickets and can even arrest individuals who text while driving. The federal Department of Transportation is calling for nationwide efforts to ban the practice and raise public awareness.

Victims of automobile accidents caused by distracted drivers may have a legal claim against the driver. Through a personal injury lawsuit, a victim may be able to obtain compensation for his or her injuries, medical expenses and lost wages resulting from the crash. If you have been injured in an auto accident with a distracted driver, contact an attorney to discuss your legal rights.