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DOT’s New PSA Illustrates Just How Quickly Texting Accidents can Happen
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. And never is the danger of distracted driving more evident than in texting accidents. To help drive the issue home with teens – by far the top texting market – the US Department of Transportation has released a jarring new public service announcement.
The 30-second television commercial released Wednesday begins with three chatty teens driving down a quiet and seemingly safe suburban street – safe enough that the young driver feels comfortable checking a text message while behind the wheel.
That’s when it happens.
In a split second, a semi-truck plows into the teens’ car as the driver takes her eyes off the road and blows past a stop sign. The camera follows in slow motion, showing the teens being violently tossed around inside the car as it rolls repeatedly before coming to a jarring stop.
The ad is tough to watch – and that’s exactly the point. DOT officials wanted to send a clear, visual message to teens about the growing issue of texting while driving, and with good reason. While the overall number of traffic fatalities on American roads fell 1.5 percent between 2010 and 2011, the number of deaths caused by distracted driving accidents rose 1.92 percent, according to statistics released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Across the board, 12 percent of fatal car crashes nationwide involve a driver’s cell phone use.
But teenagers aren’t the only ones to blame for the growing rate of texting accidents. In a study released last year, researchers found nearly half (49 percent) of adults admitted to texting while driving, as did 43 percent of teens.
If you’re the parent or guardian of a teen driver, make sure they watch the video with you, then have a frank discussion about the risks of cell phone use, especially texting, while driving. And if you’re involved in an auto accident caused by someone talking or texting while driving, get medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured. Then, contact an experienced texting accident attorney with Orlando’s Todd E. Copeland & Associates at 407-999-8995 in the Central Florida area or 888-999-9149 elsewhere in Florida.