You don’t have to look long to find an accident, injury or death caused by distracted driving. In 2009, 20 percent of accidents causing injuries involved distracted driving. The numbers are even more startling for teenagers. Teenagers are involved in a rising number of automobile accidents, some even fatal, because of distracted driving.

Some estimates show distracted driving causes over 8,000 automobile crashes per day. Distracted driving includes anything from talking and texting on a cell phone to grooming, eating, drinking or talking to passengers in your car. Distracted driving has been compared to driving while intoxicated – both are serious problems and both have serious consequences.

Several years ago the topic wasn’t discussed or even noticed. But as people become more connected with GPS devices, smart phones, tablets and other handheld devices, the number of accidents caused by distracted drivers is on the rise. Many states have enacted laws to crack down on the number of people who drive while distracted by outlawing the use of cell phones while driving or ticketing those who text while driving. In an effort to prevent distracted driving in Colorado, the state has passed laws prohibiting all drivers from text messaging and banning teens from using cell phones for any purpose while driving.

In addition, nearly all drivers – 94 percent – agree that talking on a cell phone or texting while driving is dangerous. Many of these drivers also believe that enacting laws to deal with the problem is something that should be done. However, it is likely that most of these people have also driven while distracted, which makes the problem so hard to address.

Teen Drivers Picking Up Bad Habits From Adults?

These statistics paint a troublesome picture. People are quick to point the finger at teenagers, saying they are among the most distracted drivers. While that may be true, it is also necessary to look at their parents, who may be inadvertently teaching their children to drive while distracted.

Parents may think they are experienced enough to juggle many things while driving, such as talking on the phone, having a discussion with their child or eating and drinking while driving. Busy lives force people to multitask, and many believe they can save time by making a call or sending a message while driving. Even though they may feel like they are accomplishing something while multitasking, they forget that they are also teaching their children by way of example to drive while distracted.

Preventing distracted driving starts with educating teenagers, but it may also be necessary to educate parents and draw attention to their role in teenagers’ behavior before the problem can be eliminated.

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