The June 6, 2012 verdict of the Massachusetts teen sentenced to prison for motor vehicle homicide by texting while driving has caused quite a stir as he is the first person in the state to receive such a sentence. Aaron Deveau, 18 pleaded not-guilty in court after hitting a truck while driving and texting, killing Daniel Bowley, 55 and father of three. The recent attention surrounding the topic has grown as an increasing number of states have banned the use of cellphones including texting while driving.
Teens are not getting the message. The inherent danger of driving is being ignored. An alarming fact highlighted in State Farm’s 2012 Survey, showing that of the 652 teen participants, 57% of licensed teens on the road admit to texting while driving. Thirty-five percent of the participants agree that if they continue texting while driving, they will be killed at some point, while 57% of participants agree that they are likely to be killed if they regularly drink while driving.
The findings indicate the lack of concern for safe driving fundamentals. While some licensed teens feel that texting while driving is dangerous, the majority of of them do not feel it is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Teens seem to mirror the attitudes of “tipsy” adults who believe that they are “fine” and “feel okay” enough to drive. Most teens “feel okay” enough or are “expert” at multitasking while driving. The point they are missing is that both acts are a major impairment and distraction that could result in a fatal outcome.
The lesson we should take away from the Massachusetts court ruling and the State Farm survey are that a single text is not worth the potential consequences. Teens, and adults for that matter, must recognize that texting while driving is an act of recklessness to the point of murder, no different than driving drunk. However, as with most driving laws, some are followed and some are ignored. Learn more about how you can help save lives with this informative distracted driving infographic.