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Wisconsin teens learn lessons about distracted driving dangers

Some Wisconsin high school students recently got together with fellow teens and others to talk about the dangers of distracted driving.

The teens gathered at a resort about 100 miles to the east of La Crosse to share information about texting dangers that can cause car accidents and injuries.

The Wisconsin State Patrol was also on hand. In addition, sponsors of the texting summit also put together a texting obstacle course to give students a better idea of the dangers of texting.

One sophomore from a suburban Milwaukee school told a newspaper that "no text is worth dying over."

The safety programs head of the Wisconsin State Patrol agreed. He said auto accidents are the top cause of teen fatalities across the nation.

To combat texting behind the wheel, Wisconsin last year enacted a law prohibiting the behavior. A violation carries a $400 fine.

So far, there have been more than 250 convictions for the offense in the state.

Too often, though, violators are only identified in the aftermath of an accident.

The State Patrol officer said texting isn't the only form of dangerous behind-the-wheel behavior. He said talking on a phone, using other electronic devices, eating, drinking, fixing your hair, reading and talking with passengers can also lead to inattentive driving, raising the risks of car crashes.

He said research shows that 16 percent of teenage drivers who were involved in a crash in which someone died were distracted before the collision. Forty percent of teens say they've been a passenger in a vehicle driven by someone using a cellphone at the time.

The goal, he said, is to get teens to change their behavior so that they can live long past their teenage years.

Source: wiscnews.com: "Teens review dangers of texting while driving," April 27, 2012

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