The fad of text messaging has become a phenomenon in the past 10 years, but it has also proven to be extremely dangerous when young people choose to text while driving. Teens and young adults are succumbing to the effects of the little chime that goes off every time a new text message arrives. This has caused authorities, politicians and even phone companies to start cracking down on the problem.

Lately, cellular phone companies are joining to help educate the young people about the effects of texting while driving and to not use their phone while driving.
One such company, AT&T, has started the “It Can Wait, No Text and Drive” campaign.
The company’s website states that this initiative focuses on educating people – especially teens – about the dangers of texting and driving.

The message is simple, yet vital: When it comes to texting and driving, it can wait.

AT&T has set up an online pledge program that urges everyone to stop texting while driving. The website, www.itcanwait.com, explains, through several graphics, the percentages of teens that do text and drive, how it affects their driving and how many related deaths have occurred since 2011.

According to the website, people who read and send text messages while driving are 23 times more likely to be in an accident.
Traveling at a speed of 55-mph and looking away to read a text message for five seconds is the equivalent to driving the length of a football field without looking at the road. Many things can happen in the distance of 100 yards.

Typing or read a text messaging increases the probability of causing an accident to go up 23%.

2011 Statistics show:

• 82% of Americans age 16-17 own cell phones.
• 23% of auto collisions in America involved cell phones.
• 13% of drivers age 18-20 involved in car wrecks admitted to texting or talking on their mobile devices at the time of the crash.
• 34% say they have texted while driving.
• 52% say they have talked on a cell phone while driving.
• 77% of young adults are very or somewhat confident that they can safely text while driving.
• 55% of young adult drivers claim it’s easy to text while they drive.
• Teens who text while driving spend approximately 10% of their driving time outside of their lane.

In 2012, Alabama became the 38th state to institute laws about texting and driving. Police can now issue fines starting at $25 or more to those caught texting or actively using electronic devices while driving. Other penalties, like earning two penalty points on a driver’s license and possible auto insurance hikes and jail time, have also been added. Those penalties might not sound too bad, but later on in life, they can cost you lots of money or your freedom.

State Rep. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, pushed the No Text and Drive bill to be signed into law by Gov. Bentley in May 2012.

“There is no question it is going to save lives in Alabama,” McClendon said. “When you’re texting, your eyes come off the road, your hands come off the wheel, and your mind comes off the job.”

One Huntsville man learned the hard way that texting while driving can be hazardous to your health. He drove off a cliff after texting, “I need to quit texting, because I could die in a car accident.”

According to a report by a Huntsville news station, Chance Bothe had this eerie moment of clairvoyance just prior to driving his truck into a ravine.
Bothe survived the crash, but suffered a broken neck, a fractured skull, and multiple injuries to his face along with traumatic brain injuries. He was resuscitated three times after the crash.

“They just need to understand, don’t do it. Don’t do it. It’s not worth losing your life,” Bothe said. “I went to my grandmother’s funeral not long ago, and I kept thinking, ‘I’m surprised that’s not me up in that casket’. I came very close to being gone forever.”

Therefore, for your health and everyone else’s on the highway, stop checking your phone while driving. If you do have to check a message, stop the car and get off the road. Stay safe on the highway, UWA, and don’t text and drive.

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