Teenagers and Texting

According to a recent article, teenage drivers are not as obsessed with driving as they were in previous generations. Instead, the focus has now turned to using their cellphones for practically everything. From calling friends to using maps to surfing the web, they do it all while behind the wheel. And, of course, texting has become a major problem for all drivers on the road, but especially young drivers. Here in Rock Hill SC, we have several high schools with lots of new and inexperienced teenage drivers hitting the roads. While schools like Northwestern High and Rock Hill HIgh offer driver’s education classes, we all know such efforts may not be enough. Teenagers still think they are invincible and take many more chances in life. Sometimes, taking those chances can cost them their life.

We know how dangerous teenagers texting while driving is. Studies have concluded that texting may actually be more dangerous than drunk driving in causing serious accidents and injuries. Although there really no excuse and many states have passed new laws to ban texting while driving, adults still justify this dangerous activity citing how busy and demanding their jobs are. Clients and customers today expect and virtually demand instant access and answers. Here in Rock Hill SC, many of us have jobs that force us to travel to and from appointments as part of our careers. Truck drivers remain on the road for even more extended periods and receive messages from their bosses and families. The real problem of texting while driving has taken off with the proliferation of cell phones and now smartphones which can do everything a laptop used to do. The situation seems to only be getting worse as the body count increases almost everyday.

A Solution to Teenagers Texting While Driving

With all of the current advances in technology, we knew it would just be a question of time before we could use our advances in communications to solve the problem those advances created in the first place. New cars and trucks are coming off the assembly line with all types of monitoring devices built into the systems. The same computers that regulates our engines and transmissions are now being used to monitor our driving behaviors. The day may already be here when we can use car data much like the black box on aircraft and large commercial trucks to determine what happens in a crash. The he said she said era may be coming to a close soon. However, even more important than investigating an automobile accident is preventing one in the first place.

Well, an insurance company may have found a solution and is offering free devices to their customers with teenage drivers. It is appropriately call the DriveSafe device and can be used in conjunction with the onboard diagnostics port of car made after 1996. At this point, the device cannot be used with hybrid or electric vehicles, but no doubt a remedy for that problem is already under development. Once installed, the device will work with the Esurance smart phone app and can even communicate with concerned parents through a Bluetooth connection. Parents then have the option of finetuning what functions to allow and not permit. For example, young drivers can still have access to navigation apps and be able to receive calls from select phone numbers (those same parents). But, other functions, like texting or general web surfing, can be blocked for safety. Of course, being able to dial 911 is always active. Other interesting features of this program include tracking of a teenagers driving habits, including speed, accerleration, braking, and even where they have traveled. Such capabilities may seem a little Orwellian to some liberty conscious folks, but remember, teenagers are still basically children who need oversight even in this enlightened age.

People who live in Rock Hill SC are good, hard working folks who are strong in their faith and want to be the best parents possible. I know. I have praticed law here in York County for well over twenty (20) years. I have lived in Rock Hill, Fort Mill, and now Lake Wylie over my years here. I fondly remember when my children reached the age to drive. While I was excited for them, I recognized the real dangers they faced. Back then, they had cell phones but only the ability to call. There was no texting back then. Still, I worried about them. I taught them to always wear their seat belts and keep the radio volume low. I also warned them about being distracted if they had friends in the car. I did my best to protect them. Then, I said a prayer and put them (where they always are anyway) in God’s hand. I was lucky. Neither of my children were involved in any significant car accident and have never been injured on the road. As a fellow parent, I hope and pray the same for you and your children. But the risk remains and we all need to do everything we can to stress the dangers of texting while driving.

I sincerely hope you never need me, but if you or someone you care about is injured due to texting while driving, you can reach out to me directly. Reeves Aiken & Hightower LLP serves clients throughout York County, including Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Tega Cay, Indian Land, Lake Wylie, and Clover. Attorney Robert J. Reeves is a practicing trial lawyer with over twenty-four (24) years experience. He is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, National Trial Lawyers Top 100, and Super Lawyers. You can call him when you need him (evenings, weekends, holidays) on his mobile phone 803-554-4157 or you can email . Try not to worry. We do this for our living. We are going to get you and family through this ordeal.

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