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A large number of teenage accidents are caused by distracted driving, and a common distraction for teens is their cellphones. In fact, nearly half of high school students in the U.S. have admitted that they text or email when they are driving. By now we have all heard that texting behind the wheel is dangerous; when drivers use their smart phones, their eyes and mind aren’t on the road. Even though they know the risks, some teens are still using their mobile devices while driving.
In 2012, Alabama became the 38th state to institute a law banning texting while driving. Those who are caught doing so face fines that increase with the number of incidents. Alabama patrolmen have said that the law is difficult to enforce, however. Though they can see drivers texting while behind the wheel, it is difficult to prove once they pull the driver over.
The intention of Alabama’s texting ban may not be to write citations, however. Patrolmen and lawmakers agree that the true benefit of texting and driving laws are to educate people on the risks.
Alabama is not alone in its efforts to bring awareness to the dangers of texting and driving. Recently, we at Citrin Law Firm were sent an email about Texting Thumb Bands, a ring worn on the thumb to remind teens to not text and drive. Made of rubber, these rings sport messages such as “W8 2 TXT” and “TXTING KILLS.” Several large mobile carriers, such as AT&T, have released commercials targeted to teens about the dangers of using a phone while behind the wheel. All of these campaigns have a common goal: to caution teens to not text and drive. The question that remains is, is it working?
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham think so. In a study published in August of this year, they found that states that had texting bans for young drivers saw an 11% reduction in fatal car accidents for the 15- to 21-year old age range. While some teens will still try to push the limits and continue to text and drive, many more will think twice before picking up their phone.
Preventing car accidents involving teenage drivers has always been a part of the Citrin Law Firm’s mission. From teaching a three-and-a-half hour course that is certified by the National Safety Council, Alive at 25, to 10,000 students at local high schools in Mobile to launching the Citrin Safety Foundation, Andy Citrin has worked to educate young motorists on the dangers of distracted driving. Andy is dedicated to making sure that every Alabama teen driver makes it to their destination safely.
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