Texting behind the wheel is much more dangerous than driving drunk because of the frequency in which teenagers send texts verses how often they drink.
A new study has found that texting while driving has now replaced drunk driving as the number one cause of teenage deaths on the road in the U.S.
The study, performed by the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York, found that more than 300,000 teens are injured and more than 3,000 die each year as a result of sending SMS messages while behind the wheel.
Although it is illegal to text and drive in the UK, it is still allowed in many states in the U.S.
By comparison, 282,000 are injured and 2,700 teenagers are killed as a result of drink driving.
The study was conducted by lead author Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, along with a team of Cohen investigators. It found that while driving between September 2010 and December 2011, among 8,947 teenagers aged 15-18 nationwide, an estimated 49% of boys admitted to texting while driving, compared with 45% of girls.
“The reality is kids aren’t drinking seven days per week — they are carrying their phones and texting seven days per week, so you intuitively know this a more common occurrence,” Dr. Andrew Adesman, Chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center and the lead author of the study, told CBS News in New York.
The news comes as the UK government proposes new fines and penalties to try and stop drivers using their phones in the UK.
Patrick McLoughlin, the UK transport minister has indicated that fines for a variety of offenses would rise by 50 per cent, from £60 to £90 if caught. Users will still be liable for three points on their licenses.
Many experts believe texting or using a cellphone at the wheel is more dangerous than drunk driving, because more of us are likely to do it more often. That’s because the urge to check a phone can happen any time, rather than only when we’ve had a few drinks at a party.
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