However, that means that if drinking and driving is no longer the leading cause, then some other factor must be. It is probably not surprising to learn that the current leading cause of fatal and non-fatal motor vehicle accidents among teenagers is texting while driving.
Current estimates are that about 3,000 teenagers are killed in accidents as a result of texting while driving; about 300,000 teens are injured. Meanwhile, about 2,700 teens die each year due to drinking and driving and roughly 282,000 are injured.
While it might be expected that younger drivers — who have less experience driving and might tend to make worse decisions — text more than their older counterparts, data show that texting while driving actually goes up as teenagers age.
However, it’s not as though only teenagers are guilty of distracted driving. Estimates are that at any given daylight hour, 100,000 drivers are texting while behind the wheel and another 600,000 are using a handheld cellphone to talk.
Making these behaviors illegal hasn’t stopped them, nor have aggressive public service campaigns. It may take more citations by law enforcement to get the message across that distracted driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.
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Source: Newsday, “Study: Texting while driving now leading cause of death for teen drivers,” Delthia Ricks, May 8, 2013