In the United States, more than 340,000 motor vehicle accidents each year result from texting-and-driving. That's almost 1,000 accidents every day. According to The Huffington Post, using a phone while driving increases the risk of a crash by a factor of four. As cell phone use has increased, so has the number of fatalities and serious injuries caused in motor vehicle accidents. In 2014 in Texas, more than 17,000 people were severely injured and more than 3,500 were killed in crashes. Both these figures represent increases over previous years.
Surprisingly, Texas is just one of six U.S. states not to have a comprehensive ban on texting behind the wheel. Maybe because the laws are lenient, communities are taking it on themselves to promote awareness of the dangers of texting-and-driving.
Will Educating Youth Prevent Accidents?
For 15 years, a nonprofit organization called Shattered Lives has educated high school students about the consequences of making poor decisions while driving a car. The group's initial focus was on drinking-and-driving, but it has evolved to warn of the risks involved in texting-and-driving as well.
Recently, Shattered Lives visited The Woodlands' own Oak Ridge High School and put on a two-day workshop. The program included a "spine-tingling reenactment of fatal auto accidents caused by texting or drinking and driving." Students were compelled to play victims, and were taken from their families and attended their own mock funerals. Reports note, "Practically every school that has undergone the program has noted a positive response...and a downturn in avoidable accidents."
Certainly this will benefit these students and their families. One wonders if the rest of Texas will catch up.