Almost 6,000 people die each year due to distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves, states the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety,
Younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. Their lack of driving experience can contribute to critical misjudgments if they become distracted. Not surprisingly, they text more than any other age group.
Texting is the most alarming because it involves visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study revealed that physically dialing a phone while driving increases the risk of a crash as much as six times, and texting is riskier still, increasing the collision risk by 23 times.
What Parents Can Do
Despite how parents may feel sometimes, research shows that parents are an important influence on whether or not teens choose to drink alcohol or use drugs. Teens do care about their parent’s opinions
Teens who drink alcohol and drive will lose their driver's license for a year and receive either a $500 minimum fine or 50 hours of community service. The law provides a “zero tolerance'” stance against underage drinking and driving, said Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. Zero tolerance means the legal limit for teens is a .02 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which is the normal alcohol content of the average person. Even a small amount of alcohol can result in a conviction.
"Unfortunately, teens are one of the highest risk populations on our roadways," Holcomb said. "Despite meaningful efforts to curb underage drinking and driving, it still remains a significant problem." In 2010, 1,285 drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 were convicted of drunk driving in Virginia, and most were 18 to 20 years old.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)