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Sonoma Event Shows Dangers of Distracted Driving

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

There are many risk factors that increase the chances of a car accident. With increasing frequency today, many car accidents are a result of distracted drivers, especially among teenagers. A recent event in Sonoma County was held to help high school students experience the hazards associated with distracted driving.

The event was held at the Sonoma Raceway at Sears Point. The point of the event was to show teens the dangers of texting and driving, talking on cell phones, and participating in other distracting behaviors.

The event is one of many being held around the country aimed at educating teens of the dangers of distracted driving. The numbers are sobering. According to one federal agency, in 2010 18% of injuries from crashes were a result of distracted driving.

The agency also reported that 40% of all American teens report having been in a car when the driver's use of a cell phone endangered others. The research showed that on average, sending or receiving a text message requires the driver to take his or her eyes from the road for 4.6 seconds. During this time, while driving at 55 mph, the car travels the equivalent of a football field.

Much like speeding and drunk driving, distracted driving is now routinely investigated at the scene of car accidents. California has attempted to combat the problem by making it illegal to text and drive. Cell phone use is also only permitted with the use of a hands-free device.

Despite these attempts, distracted driving continues to be a routine cause of car accidents. Perhaps events such as the one at Sonoma Raceway will educate teens and young adults of the dangers of distracted driving and the serious consequences that may result.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Students experience distracted driving," Michael Taylor, Oct. 23, 2012