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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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Adults are Sending the Wrong Message

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Teens and young adults are not the only ones that public service announcements (PSAs) should focus on when it comes to texting while driving. New research shows more adults use their phones while driving than teenagers.

A recent study published by a Wayne State University interdisciplinary research team revealed that adult drivers are much worse than their younger counterparts when texting while driving. The study “The Effects of Texting on Driving Performance in a Driving Simulator: The Influence of Driver Age” explored the relationship between texting, driving performance and age. Randall Commissaris, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences and Doreen Head, assistant professor of occupational therapy, said the results were surprising because the figures contradict prior studies examining the connection between age and distracted driving.

The study included drivers ranging in age from 18 to 59. Findings were based on the observation of participants who demonstrated proficiency at texting with one hand, owned smartphones and indicated they were prolific texters. On average, approximately 50% of all subjects crossed from one lane to another while texting. As the age of drivers increased so did the percentage of lane excursions; 100% of drivers between 45 and 59 years-of-age made lane excursions while texting as compared to about 80% of those between 35 and 44; 40% of participants between 25 and 34, and nearly 25% of participants between 18 and 24.

It is obvious that despite a ban on texting while driving in most states, texting while driving remains a serious problem. If we’re living in a world where 50 % of drivers might be texting, the dangers are significant every time you hit the road.

Prior to the study, all participants agreed that texting and driving was dangerous. After the study, 60% believed that texting while driving was even more dangerous than they originally thought. This suggests that the key to reversing this dangerous trend is education and PSAs not only for teens, but adult drivers as well.

There is no such thing as a safe way to use one’s phone behind the wheel – no matter how old you are. “Using your phone while driving may seem safe, but it roughly quadruples your risk of being in a crash,” said Jake Nelson, AAA director of traffic safety advocacy and research. “None of us is immune from the dangers of distracted driving.” The cost of such distractions can be devastating. Just talk to someone who has lost a loved one, is permanently disabled, or been involved in a wrongful death suit. If you are the wrongdoer, think what that could cost you.

As we approach Distracted Driving Awareness Month (April), remember that the #1 defense against texting and driving is to lay down the “no texting and driving” rule in your family, set consequences, and model by example. There is no message that can’t wait.

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.