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Don't text and drive.

Distracted driving, specifically texting while driving, is a significant issue in the United States. In 2012, car accidents that involved a distracted driver killed 3,328 people and injured 421,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Unfortunately, teen drivers are at the highest risk for automobile crashes compared to  any other age group. In fact, distracted driving was the cause of 11 percent of fatal crashes for those between the ages of 15 and 19, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). To protect drivers, the government of Massachusetts enacted the Safe Driving Law, while spreading awareness of texting and driving dangers.

About the Safe Driving Law

The Massachusetts Safe Driving Law took effect in September 2010, making distracted driving through the use of mobile devices against the law. This bans the act of sending, reading, and writing text messages or emails while behind the wheel. Additionally, the law prohibits junior operators, which are those individuals aged 16 to 17 years old, from placing or answering phone calls. The only exception for this rule is in the event of an emergency, as a junior operator is allowed to report an incident to authorities.

How Parents and Guardians Can Help

There are many steps parents and guardians can take to educate children about the importance of driving safely. While it may seem like a difficult topic to approach, it may save your child’s life.

  • Talk to your kids about teen driver accident statistics.
  • Lead by example when you’re in the car.
  • Encourage your family to take the pledge and commit to distracted-free driving while behind the wheel.

What Teens Can Do

It’s important to keep yourself and your loved ones out of harm’s way when on the road. Remember that having a driver’s license is a privilege that comes with great responsibility. To decrease your chances of being in an accident, practice safe driving tips.

  • Put your phone down.
  • Cut out driver distractions by turning off your phone or setting it to silent mode.
  • Know your route beforehand to avoid using your phone for directions, or pull over during the trip to review where you need to go.
  • Speak up. If you’re in the car with someone who is using their cellphone behind the wheel ask them to stop.

Distracted driving accidents can be prevented. It’s as simple as putting your phone down to pay attention to the road. Take time today to talk to your friends and loved ones about not texting and driving.

For more information comment below or tweet us @MassGov.

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