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Teens Getting the Message about Texting While Driving?

Distracted driving has received a lot of attention throughout the United States. The U.S. Department of Transportation has focused much energy at encouraging states to adopt bans on texting while driving.

However, not every state has a ban in place, and unfortunately, car accidents caused by distracted drivers are happening all too frequently. So, how do officials encourage changes in unsafe driving habits in younger drivers?

A survey by State Farm Insurance and Harris Interactive attempted to determine what factors influence a teen's decisions regarding texting while driving. The most effective deterrent was when a teen had an accident due to distracted driving. Teens that had close calls also were less likely to text while driving.

Another factor on the list concerned law enforcement. If teens knew that there were laws that carried substantial penalties, they would refrain from texting. However, teens had to believe that police would be enforcing these laws, or this would not be an effective deterrent.

Texas does not currently have a statewide ban on texting while driving. It seems each year, legislators attempt to get a bill passed, but fail to gain the necessary support that is needed.

If no harsh penalties are in place, this could mean that serious motor vehicle accidents remain the only way that teens will learn the dangers of distracted driving. Many motorists could be at risk because of these unsafe driving habits, because a driver that takes his or her eyes off the road for even a split second increases the potential for an accident.

Many states have waited until a tragic accident occurred before pushing for texting while driving laws. Hopefully, Texas will address the issue before a car or truck accident caused by a distracted driver causes serious injuries or death.

Source: USA Today "Police crackdown can curb texting while driving, teens say" Larry Copeland, August 27, 2010.

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