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Could more passengers lead to less cell phone use?

We've discussed the dangers of distracted driving before. It is well known that when people in Baltimore use cell phones while they are driving, tragic accidents can occur.

Despite the warnings, many teenagers admit to using their cell phones while they are driving. A study of more than 1,000 teenagers by Consumer Reports found that about 47 percent talk on their cell phones while driving. About 27 percent said they text message while they are driving. However, about half of respondents said they are less likely to text or call if they have friends in the car with them.

It has long been believed that teenagers are safer driving a car by themselves than with other teenagers in the car with them. This study, though, indicates that having passengers in the car may prevent teenagers from using their cell phones while they are driving.

The Consumer Reports survey also found that about half of the respondents said they have asked friends to put their cell phones down while they are driving. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that teenagers are less likely to tell a friend to stop using their phone while they are driving than other more experienced drivers.

Although the survey indicated that teenage drivers who have passengers are less likely to use their cell phone, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported just last month that teenagers are much more likely to be involved in a fatal accident with every additional teenager present in their car.

Despite the conflicting information, it seems clear that drivers of any age must do all that they can to prevent fatal traffic accidents. Sadly, one single text or call can end a life.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Can teens prevent friends from texting and driving?" Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, May 30, 2012

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