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Cell phones, teens and driving can make a lethal combination

Today's teenagers don't remember a time when cell phones didn't exist. Like numerous other teens across the country, many here in San Antonio probably got one before they were even officially teenagers, including yours. It's how they keep in touch with friends, arrange get-togethers and use social media.

Using the phone may not cause any real problems under ordinary circumstances, but once a teen gets behind the wheel, it could cause catastrophic results. The combination of inexperience with driving and using a cell phone results in numerous deadly accidents among teens each year.

How bad is the problem?

If you have a teenager with a cell phone and a driver's license, you may want to scrutinize the statistics below in order to understand just how prevalent and dangerous the situation can get:

  • Around 42 percent of high school students admitted to sending an email or text while they drove within the previous 30 days in a 2015 study.
  • Typing a text message requires the use of your brain, hands and eyes -- all of which should be focused on the road instead.
  • In the seconds it takes to type and send that text message, the landscape and traffic around a vehicle can change dramatically. A texting driver could not only miss any potential danger, but also not have time to react to it.
  • You lose 37 percent of the brainpower you should use for driving ability if you text behind the wheel.
  • If a high school student is willing to text and drive, he or she may also ride with someone under the influence of alcohol, not wear a seat belt or drive under the influence.

As you can see, your child endangers everyone when texting or otherwise using a cell phone while driving.

Avoid your teen becoming a statistic

In order to avoid become a statistic, you could sit down with your teen and impart the following advice:

  • Connect with parents or friends only before or after driving.
  • Review directions to the destination before starting to drive.
  • Cell phone notifications are meant to distract. Turn it off if the distraction is too much.

Taking these precautions allows your child to focus on driving, which would provide a better chance of avoiding a crash and remaining in compliance with all traffic laws, including any prohibitions against cell phone use.

Your teen may heed your warnings and follow your instructions, but others may not. If you or your teen suffers injuries in a crash involving a teen who was using a cell phone at the time of the crash, you may be able to pursue compensation for the financial losses that accompany such a tragedy.

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