Federal Study: More Teens Texting Behind the Wheel

A new study shows that a disturbing number of teens are texting while driving, despite the dangers. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that while more teens are wearing seatbelts and fewer are drinking while driving, the number who admit to texting while driving is increasing rapidly.

According to the CDC, nearly 60 percent of high school seniors and over 40 percent of juniors admitted to texting or emailing while driving in the month prior to the survey. Over 15,000 teens from public and private high schools participated in the study.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

Texting while driving is a well-documented danger. According to recent federal statistics, about 16 percent of teen deaths in car accidents were caused at least in part by distracted teen driving. More than 3,000 teens died in traffic accidents in each of the last few years. The CDC reports that, while these numbers are lower than 10 years ago, car accidents are still the number one cause of teen death in the country.

Distracted driving is a growing contributor to these tragedies and has become a "national epidemic," according to the head of the federal Department of Transportation, Ray LaHood. Teens send or receive an average of 100 text messages a day, and many choose to do so while behind the wheel.

Distracted driving can delay reaction times essential for safe driving practices like obeying traffic signals, merging onto highways and applying the brakes to avoid a collision. In response, nearly every state has passed a law prohibiting texting while driving, including Wisconsin. In addition, many states have enacted stricter bans and penalties for teen drivers caught texting behind the wheel.

Legal Rights of People Injured by Texting Drivers

People injured in car accidents caused by distracted drivers may have a legal right to compensation from the driver responsible for their injuries. If you have been injured in a car accident with a distracted driver, contact a personal injury attorney to help identify responsible parties and seek full compensation.