Texting Awareness Foundation: Texting & Driving Replaces Drunk Driving as #1 Killer of Teens

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Following reports that the number of teens killed while texting and driving has now surpassed the number of teens killed by drunk driving, the Texting Awareness Foundation issues a response.

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Texting at the wheel is an inherently greater risk than drunk driving just because of the frequency of occurrence – this is common sense...

On June 14, the Texting Awareness Foundation issues a statement discussing the results of a recent study that found that texting has now replaced drunk driving as the “number one cause of teenage deaths on the road in the U.S.”

According to an article from Mashable, new research conducted by the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York found that over 300,000 injuries and over 3,000 fatalities occur annually as a result of texting at the wheel. These numbers surpass the statistics for drunk driving, which injures 282,000 teens and causes 2,700 teen deaths per year.

The study’s lead author, Andrew Adesman, says the results make sense given the ever presence of texting. "The reality is kids aren't drinking seven days per week — they are carrying their phones and texting seven days per week, so you intuitively know this a more common occurrence," he says.

Rocco Panetta, spokesperson for the Texting Awareness Foundation, says that as alarming as this new reality is, it may help to spread awareness and jolt some people into heeding the “don’t text and drive” call. “Texting at the wheel is an inherently greater risk than drunk driving just because of the frequency of occurrence – this is common sense. We find reasons to check our phone all the time, while driving drunk is, for most people, not a daily temptation. We’ve been subject to aggressive drunk-driving awareness-raising campaigns for decades now,” says Panetta. “The dangers of drinking and driving are now firmly in the minds of most people. Many still do it – but many don’t, because the reality has been made palpable for them. It’s possible that the association of that danger with that of texting and driving will drive the message home, for some.”

“But,” he says, “I can’t understand what could be clearer: the number one killer of teens on the road is now texting while driving. Furthermore, research has shown that teens who text and drive are also more likely to engage in other, additional risky behaviors while driving. If you add together all behaviors that amount to distracted or impaired driving, the results in terms of injury, life and property loss are outrageous.”

The Texting Awareness Foundation is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that was created to remind and educate people about the dangers of texting and driving. Our goal is to keep the public informed, on a daily basis, of the possible legal and physical (body and property) dangers of texting and driving. Our “Remind You” campaign is designed to reduce accidents simply by raising awareness.

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Rocco Panetta
Texting Awareness
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