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For Teens, Texting and Driving Go Hand In Hand

Authorities are concerned about the new wave of drivers who have grown up with texting as their primary source of communication.

 

Would you drive the length of a football field on a freeway with a blindfold on?

That's what drivers do when they text behind the wheel.

Safety officials say it takes an average of 4.6 seconds to send or receive a text. At 55 miles per hour, a car covers 100 yards in that time span.

Safety experts are particularly alarmed about teens because the kids who grew in the texting generation are now getting their driver's licenses.

"It's the culture they grew up in," said CHP officer Steve Creel. "They think they can multi-task at everything."

Raising awareness on texting is part of a campaign against distracted driving. Distracted driving includes any behavior that takes away a driver's focus from the road, including eating, drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading and watching videos.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that 3,000 people were killed in the United States in 2010 in distracted driving accidents. They say 16 percent of all crashes involve distracted driving.

Texting is considered the worst distraction because it involves visual, manual and cognitive skills -- all of which are needed for driving.

Why do teens do it?

Creel notes that a teen can receive a dozen text messages in 20 minutes. If they're driving, they may feel like they're missing out.

"With teens, it's how many minutes between texts, not how many texts they receive in a day," said Creel.

Teens also feel like they're so good at texting that they can send messages and drive without endangering themselves.

That's a belief that can be deadly.

You can hear what students in San Ramon think about texting and driving in the video attached to this story. It was put together by California High student Shalaka Gole.

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