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Wisconsin high school juniors learn about texting dangers

A group of 200 Wisconsin high school juniors recently received a hands-on lesson about the dangers of texting while driving. Teens are more likely to become involved in a car crash than any other age group, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and auto accidents are the number-one cause of death for American teens.

High school juniors were reportedly selected because of their inexperience behind the wheel and their tendency to rely on mobile devices to communicate with their friends. The event, called "It Can Wait," was sponsored by AT&T and AAA. Attendees included a state senator and senior figures from local law enforcement. Sobering statistics included NHTSA data showing that cellphone use was a contributing factor in 21 percent of road fatalities among drivers aged 15 to 19. Students also learned that a car traveling at 55 mph covers a distance as long as a football field in the five seconds that it takes to look away from the road and view a text message.

The practical part of the class involved students putting their driving skills to the test in a simulator made up of three computer screens and a steering wheel. Students were asked to send a text message as various everyday driving situations played out in front of them. Participants were shocked at how quickly their inattention led to a near-miss or collision, and many of them vowed to never use their mobile phones again while driving.

In an electronic age of instant communication, efforts like this could make a difference in preventing serious accidents resulting from distracted driving. Automobile accidents claim thousands of lives each year and cause countless injuries. Victims of crashes caused by distracted or negligent drivers may wish to contact an attorney experienced in road traffic accident cases. The attorney may be able to help them to receive compensation for their property damage, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

Source: Pioneer Press, "Wisconsin simulator helps teens understand texting dangers", Patrick B. Anderson, September 20, 2013

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