With many Tri-State schools starting up this week, we thought it appropriate to issue a little PSA:

Don't text while driving. Please.

Whether you're a 16 year old who just got their license or a veteran driver -- please, put the phone down!

A few facts and figures:

  1. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2012 driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes – with 3,328 people killed – and crashes resulting in an injury – with 421,000 people wounded.
  2. Each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.
  3. A study from the University of Utah indicated that the reaction time of a teen driver using a cell phone is the same as that of a 70-year-old driver who is not using a cell phone.
  4. Individuals who drive while sending or reading text messages are 23 percent more likely to be involved in a car crash than other drivers. A crash typically happens within an average of three seconds after a driver is distracted.
  5. According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an auto crash than driving when intoxicated.

In addition to being extremely unsafe, texting while driving is against the law.

Currently, 46 states, plus D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers.
In Ohio, drivers under the age of 18 caught texting or using any electronic wireless communication device while driving will face a $150 fine and a 6-month license suspension for the first offense. The fine and suspension time doubles after the second offense. Adult drivers caught writing, sending or reading a text face a misdemeanor fine of up to $150.

So, please, as your high-school and college-aged students go back to school: share this information with them. Operating an automobile is a huge responsibility, and requires the driver's full attention.

And, follow your own advice, too! There is nothing on your phone that can't wait. You and your family's safety is priceless!

Sources: 1. CDC, Distracted Driving | 2. Don't Text & Drive, Statistics | 3. Governor's Highway Safety Association, Distracted Driving Laws.

Photo Credit: Sarah M.

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