Teens Don’t Speak Up About Distracted Drivers

People who have been injured by drivers who were talking or texting on their cell phones when the collision occurred are becoming increasingly common in the offices of Portland distracted driving accident lawyers. If information just released about teens and a distracted driving study are indications of what’s to come in the years ahead, a lot of us could be in for more than just a bumpy ride.

Talking or texting while driving is a foolish, dangerous thing to do, yet we see it every day. If there are passengers in the car, it’s not only the wise thing to do, but it’s their duty to object to the driver’s behavior. Yet the results of a new study show that teenage passengers are the least likely to complain about drivers who are texting or talking.

Teens, social networks, and increased distractions

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is well aware of the dangers posed by drivers who are concentrating on anything other than the task at hand, namely getting from Point A to Point B without bending any metal or breaking any bones. “Distracted driving is an epidemic on our roadways, and this new finding shows that our youngest drivers are particularly at risk,” said LaHood.

Rather than bemoan the reality or berate the teenage passengers for not complaining when a driver is busy on their phone, the USDOT has decided to launch a contest for students, asking them to design a social networking icon the DOT will use in its nationwide distracted driving campaign. The government’s transportation chiefs, as well as Portland injury accident lawyers, hope that initiative will encourage young passengers to speak up when traveling with a distracted driver, even if that driver is a parent or older relative.

“We’re encouraging young people across America to commit to distraction-free driving, spread the word to their family and friends, and speak up if the driver in their car is distracted,” said Secretary LaHood when launching the new social networking contest. The contest guidelines ask teens to:

  • Create an original icon that can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other popular social networking sites.
  • The icon should incorporate an anti-distracted-driving message.
  • The icon should act as a helpful tool for younger passengers, who might otherwise be too nervous, embarrassed or reluctant to speak up to distracted drivers about the dangers of what they’re doing.

The contest is open to all students in the United States between the ages of 13 and 18, and will run until July 31. Secretary LaHood and a panel of DOT experts responsible for putting together the DOT’s distracted driving campaign will select the overall winning design. For details of the campaign, interested teens can visit www.NHTSA.gov.

Worrying trends

Portland personal injury lawyers welcome the initiative and say Secretary LaHood has good reason to be worried. The most recent statistics available reveal that:

  • Younger drivers in the 18 to 20-year-old age bracket report the highest level of phone involvement in both crashes and near misses.
  • Young drivers are three times more likely than drivers over the age of 25 to admit having been reading or sending a text or e-mail when an accident or near-accident occurred.
  • Drivers younger than 25 are about three times more likely to drive while sending or reading a text than older drivers, which directly corresponds to the incidence of accidents.
  • Reports of driving while texting, e-mailing or reading texts decline sharply in older drivers.

Older passengers not so tolerant of distracted driving behavior

A nationwide survey of more than 6,000 drivers shows a marked difference in how people react to distracted practices like texting while driving. Perhaps surprisingly then, the same study showed little or no difference, regardless of age, to people’s attitudes towards drivers texting habits. The only significant differences, according to the study, were what passengers of different age groups are prepared to do about it. The main findings showed:

  • Nine out of 10 overall, in all age categories, said they considered drivers who send or read texts or e-mails to be acting in a very unsafe manner.
  • In spite of their feelings about the unsafe practices of texting while driving, only about one-third of the respondents in the 18 to 24 age group said they would actually say something to the driver about their distracted behavior.
  • The over-65 age group is decidedly less tolerant of distracted driving behavior. The study showed that at least half of them would say something to a driver who was sending or reading texts.

Portland distracted driving accident lawyers meet people on a far too frequent basis whose lives have been horribly changed, physically, financially and psychologically, because of life-changing injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. With the proliferation of cell phones over the past 10 years, the level of accidents caused by distracted drivers is increasing to truly frightening levels.

If you’re one of the unfortunate victims of a driver who thought they were well able to drive while texting or sending an e-mail, only to find out the hard way they were not, then help is at hand. A team of compassionate and experienced Portland accident lawyers can help you to at least get the financial compensation that will fund your recovery and look after your family until you’re back on your feet.

Call a good personal injury attorney, to get their advice if nothing else. The consultation is free, and they can provide excellent guidance and valuable information you’ll need to succeed with your claim. If you decide to go ahead, they’ll do the leg work and deal with the insurance companies on your behalf, and fight to get the compensation you deserve.