March 7, 2011

Distracted Driving Among Young People A Widespread Issue

The U.S. Department of Transportation and Consumer Reports magazine have released a poll that shows the growing problem with distracted driving among young people.

According to the poll, 63 percent of people under 30 acknowledged that they drive while using a phone, while 30 percent said they have sent text messages while behind the wheel.  For those over 30, the percentages were 41 percent on the phone and 9 percent texting.

About a third of the young people said they feel this type of behavior is very dangerous.

"Distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic on America's roads, and teens are especially vulnerable because of their inexperience behind the wheel and, often, peer pressure," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in the magazine.

The Department of Transportation said that about 5,500 people in the U.S. were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2009.

LaHood and Consumers Union President Jim Guest announced that a guide for parents and educators is being made available online and will be distributed to schools and volunteer groups.

A public service announcement is being sent to TV stations, and a video meant for retail stores is expected to reach as many as 100 million people.

According to Consumer Reports, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens.  Consumer reports also said that the teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as other drivers and the risk of collision is 23 times more likely while texting.


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