Teenagers request increased penalties for texting while driving

It may seem odd that some teenagers are requesting stricter enforcement of texting while driving bans, such as Louisiana’s ban on all texting behind the wheel, but some of them have been affected by the damage distracted driving can cause. For those people in Cameron who have yet to realize just how dangerous distracted driving in general and texting while driving specifically can be likely have never known someone injured or killed in a distracted driving accident. Unfortunately, these kinds of accidents are happening across Louisiana and the country all the time.

After a survey of 650 teenagers, however, it seems clear that stricter penalties and greater enforcement efforts are likely to decrease the number of teenagers who text behind the wheel. The insurance company State Farm recently released data suggesting that 84 and 83 percent of teens, respectively, would stop texting and driving if these changes were implemented. And, teens are right to believe that harsher punishments could have a deterring effect; in some states a fine for texting and driving is only $20.

In addition, parents can repeatedly reaffirm the need for safe and attentive driving. Regardless of whether they live in a community in which texting and driving is illegal, parents should create their own punishments for texting and driving, including forbidding the use of a car.

Ultimately, however, it will take these young, inexperienced drivers to stop texting to reduce the number of serious or fatal accidents on the road. Teenagers must understand that distracted driving puts everyone on the road in Louisiana at risk.

Source: USA Today, “Police crackdown can curb texting while driving, teens say,” Larry Copeland, Aug. 28, 2012

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