Sunday, November 19th, 2017

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Teens Underestimate Risk of Texting Behind the Wheel

Texting while driving can have grievous consequences.For many young people, texting is a part of life – but that doesn't mean it's something that should be done while driving.

A 2008 study performed by the U.K.'s Transport Research Laboratory found that the reaction time of 17-to-24-year-old drivers was reduced by 35 percent when they were sending a text. Young people who were inebriated, by contrast, had reaction times that were just 12 percent slower.

So texting behind the wheel can actually be more dangerous than driving drunk. But young people aren't as concerned about the risks of texting while driving.

Insurer State Farm reports this week that only 36 percent of teens believe texting and driving can be fatal. Fifty-five percent, on the other hand, say the same of drunk driving.

While State Farm only polled teenagers, it's likely that people in their 20s have similar attitudes about driving while texting. Many members of Generation Y have grown up with cell phones close at hand, and it's tempting to think that being proficient at texting means it's OK to text while driving. As various studies have shown, though, texting behind the wheel is at least as dangerous as driving drunk.

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