I saw this new PSA on the hazards of texting while driving on The Today Show this morning. As a mother of a teenager about to get his driver’s permit, I intend to make him watch it. You can watch it, too, but, WARNING: it is extremely graphic. It graphically shows the wreck caused by a teenage driver who was texting while driving three of her friends. A terrible collision occurs and although she survives, she has killed her three best friends. Unfortunately, I have seen this scenario all too often in my plaintiff’s personal injury practice in Atlanta.
For my regular readers, you’ll know it has been somewhat of a crusade for me to advocate the passing of laws against driving while texting. The newest studies are startling. Recent studies show that texting while driving may be as dangerous and lethal as drunken driving. Up to a quarter of the estimated 40,000 vehicle fatalities in the U.S. annually may be traced back to distracted drivers texting. A recent Virginia Tech study found that texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision than nontexters. And although the AAA reports 95 percent of drivers polled acknowledge texting while driving is dangerous, 21 percent of them have done it recently anyway.
Will the Georgia Legislature take the next available opportunity in January 2010 to outlaw texting while driving? Such a law could save thousands of lives. I don’t know what the Georgia General Assembly will do, but for now, concerned parents should have their teen drivers watch this video and think twice about texting while driving.