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For years parents and pundits alike have been preaching the dangers of drunk driving to their children.  While these warnings are certainly justified, there is a new quite danger that has taken drunk driving’s place as the leading cause of death for teen drivers.

A new study from researchers at Cophen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park estimates that more than 3,000 annual teen deaths and over 300,000 injuries come as a result of texting and driving.  This number surpasses the estimated 2,700 teen deaths and 282,000 injuries that come as a result of drunk driving. 

This same study found that of teenagers aged 15-18 years old nationwide, an estimated 49 percent of boys admitted to texting while driving compared with 45 percent of girls.   Dr. Andrew Adesman who led the recent study stated that the data showed “A person who is texting can be as impaired as a driver who is legally drunk,” noting that a texting driver is distracted from the movement of traffic and the function of his or her own vehicle. 

While the results of this study are in no way meant to diminish the dangers of drunk driving, Dr. Adesman and his team of investigators hope that it will shine some light on the growing danger of texting and driving.  “We have very strong taboos against drinking and driving.  kids don’t drink and drive every day.  But some kids are out there texting and driving seven days a week – and they admit it”  

At Rutter Mills, we see the dangerous effects of texting and driving on an almost daily basis.  Not a day goes by without us seeing an auto accident that could have been prevented if a driver were not distracted.  While new laws and legislation are forthcoming on the issue of texting and driving, we feel there is no substitute for talking to your children and honestly and openly informing them of the very serious risks that can come as a result of distracted driving. 

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