Texting while driving kills more teenagers than drunk driving, researchers estimate.

A recent report from Cohen Children’s Medical Center concludes that more than 3,000 teens die each year as a result of texting while driving; an estimated 2,700 teens die in alcohol-related crashes. A separate national study, in 2011, found that nearly half of all teens admitted that they had texted or sent email behind the wheel.

The AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety and the South Carolina Public Safety Foundation hope to show teens the dangers of distracted driving. The organizations came together to conduct a four-month campaign at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, WBTW reported. During and after this effort, participating teens took a survey to measure changes in their attitudes. The results showed that almost half of the students had a new perspective due to the anti-texting program.

The most dramatic change came in various tasks students admitted to doing while driving. In January, 49 percent said they text and drive. But when they were resurveyed in May, only 38 percent said they texted while driving.

By the second survey, students who felt they were safe drivers while texting went down 6 points from 16 percent to 10 percent. Also, more students said that as passengers they were apt to confront a driver about texting behind the wheel. This figure went up from 66 percent to 72 percent.

However, the results also point to a need to continue spreading awareness about the risks of texting while driving. Although students were better informed by the end of the campaign, there was only a minor improvement in the percentage of students who reported that they never text and drive. The number went up from 59 percent to 61 percent.

Campaign Events

To show teens the risks of texting while operating a motor vehicle, the program organized educational events at the high school. Students were exposed to graphic videos, a texting-while-driving cone course, a brake reaction test, an essay contest and texting simulators.

Also, Pressly Melton, a victim of texting while driving, gave a speech about what she went through in 2006. Melton was given a 2 percent chance of survival after being severely injured in an accident. Every bone in her face was broken. Today she has 20 metal plates holding her face together.

Melton’s presentation had the biggest impact on the students. In the survey, 38 percent of the teens said Melton’s story had created the most change in their attitude about texting while driving.

Need Legal Help?

Car accidents can occur without any warning. But when a driver is distracted, the likelihood of a serious accident can increase dramatically. If you or a loved one has been injured in a South Carolina automobile accident because of somebody else’s negligence, contact our South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm. Call 888-594-7734 or use our online form so our attorneys can offer you advice about your rights.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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