As a Katy insurance agency, we walk with our clients and community through car accidents and no matter the case they are always tough. But when it involves teens and young parents, it brings additional heartbreak. Within the last few months, the community of Katy, Texas has lost two young women because of distracted driving; one a young Katy mom and the second, a 2012 graduate of Katy High School. In 2010, 18% of injury crashes were reported as distracted affected crashes. You can read that statistic and dismiss it, but when it’s someone you know the reality of these statics begins to hit home.
The term “distracted driving” can refer texting, general cell phone use, grooming, eating, adjusting music or navigational systems or even just talking to fellow passengers. That being said, text messaging while driving poses the biggest threat to drivers. In fact, the risk of texting while driving increases the risk for a crash by 23 times as compared with an undistracted driver.
And of course, teens are at heightened risk for distracted driving. Not only are they inexperienced drivers, but they are also more confident in multi-tasking while using a mobile device. In essence, it’s second nature to the generation that has grown up with mobile technology. In fact, 40% of American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger (Pew).
In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver (VTTI). What if you knew just one of these people? Would it change your view of distracted driving? We all falsely assume that these statistics and behaviors apply to everyone else. The deaths of these two young women in the Katy community should bring this delusion to a staggering halt.
Educate your teens on distracted driving, whether they are the driver or the passenger. And above all, be an example yourself. For more information and educational tools, visit www.distraction.gov. Please keep the Katy families mentioned in your prayers and don’t let another family have to go through this loss.