That’s the number of American high school seniors who say they’ve texted behind the wheel.
And when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its biennial survey of risky youth behaviors earlier this year, the percentage of teens who admitted to texting while driving was higher than the number of teens who said they had smoked at least one cigarette in the 30 days before the survey (15.7 percent) and the number that described themselves as sexually active (34 percent).
It’s an alarming statistic, made even more so because of the number of other distractions that can occupy a teen driver’s attention on the road.
Georgia Hatfield, the regional program director for Region 5 of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, said teenagers tend to be more preoccupied with a lot of things while they’re driving. That includes cellphones, the radio, other people in the car, putting on makeup, eating or drinking.
And the risks aren’t limited to distractions. She said driving while drowsy or driving in excess of the speed limit are other dangers associated with driving.
“When teens or anybody are speeding, that increases their chances of crashing when they’re passing (other cars) over the speed limit anywhere, whether it’s in a neighborhood or on the interstate,” Hatfield said.
Teen drivers also should realize they fall under the same laws and restrictions as older drivers. In West Virginia, that means they are prohibited from using handheld devices and texting while driving.
A first offense for breaking the rule is a $100 citation. The second offense is a $200 citation. The third offense is a $300 citation and might even include a three-point offense on a driving record.
In this day of instant communication and being constantly connected, we understand the strong temptation to quickly reply to text messages. But is it worth risking your life to find out the latest bit of gossip? Even if the text message contains some crucial information, doesn’t it make sense to safely pull to the side of the road or into a nearby parking lot to respond?
Speeding, chatting with friends in the car, being drowsy — there are too many distractions for teen drivers as it is. Texting behind the wheel shouldn’t be one of them.
If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is
Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
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- If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is