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Dangers of Driving and Texting

Answering a text can take as long as five seconds. That's enough time to travel the length of a football field! With one-third of your drivers (under age 24) engaging in driving and texting, it's important to educate yourself and to warn your teenage drivers about the dangers of driving and texting.

Texting is considered the most dangerous activity to do with a cell phone while driving. This is why 35 states and the District of Columbia ban text messaging for all drivers. Another seven states ban text messaging for novice drivers, such as teens. Although these dangers, and these laws, may be well known, teens either haven't learned the lesson yet or are choosing to engage in texting and driving anyway.

It's critical that both parents and teenagers understand these risks, especially with the growing popularity of smartphones has made texting an adult activity as much as a teenage activity. Texting and driving falls into the category of distracted driving, which includes cell phone calls and reading emails as well. Knowledge of the risks of texting and driving, as well as all distracted driving, is something everyone needs to have, not just teens.

To start increasing awareness, it's good to know what the laws are in your state. Most states ban texting to some degree, but not all prohibit using the cell phone to make calls. Some states, such as Utah, will only cite a driver being on a cell phone if caught committing another moving violation. If anything, the law may add extra incentive to stop texting and driving and other dangerous, distracting activities. If caught, the violation could end up on your driving record.

Another thing to do to try and cut down on the amount of time spent driving and texting is to turn the phone off while driving, or keeping it out of reach, such as in a bag or in the glove compartment. It removes the temptation of answering calls or texts while driving, but also keeps the phone in a place where you won't end up forgetting it in the car.

Overall, texting and driving is dangerous, especially for teens and younger drivers who don't have as much experience on the roads. It may be a hard behavior to eliminate or to overcome, but people's lives depend on it. Don't wait until an accident happens before deciding to make a change.