A new downloadable video game helps teach teens the dangers of texting while driving. With 87 percent of American teens age 14-17 owning cell or smart phones, texting has become their primary mode of communication. Sixty-eight percent of teenagers send at least 21 texts per day and 18 percent send a whopping 200 texts each day. Trouble is, much of that texting happens when teens are on the road. Cell or smart phones are involved in at least 23 percent of car crashes in America each year – a figure that reflects upwards of 1.3 million accidents. Texting takes away a minimum of five seconds of attention to the road, during which your teen will travel the length of a football field if driving 55 miles per hour, and spend 10 percent of that time drifting outside of his lane. Keep in mind that it takes an average of just seven seconds for a car collision to happen. Still?
- 34 percent of teens admit to having texted while driving;
- 77 percent are very confident or at least somewhat confident that they can safely text while driving;
- 55 percent insist that texting while driving is easy.
But as any parent of a teen knows, talking some sense into them isn’t always easy. That’s where SMS Racing can help. It’s a free, downloadable video game designed to drive home the point that texting behind the wheel is dangerous. The game challenges players to drive a car around a track while receiving and responding to text messages. Gamers must respond to messages within ten seconds or get a penalty. But when they do respond, most players end up with their game cars in ditches, wrapped around poles or smashed against walls. In real life, the stakes are far higher than game point penalties. In 2011, 387,000 Americans were injured due to distracted driving, and more than 3300 were killed. Plus, if a recently passed New Jersey law is used as legal precedent, third party texters may be held liable for texting and driving accidents. That means the friend who knowingly texts your teen while he or she is driving can land in legal trouble, too. Auto accident attorneys with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell urge you to download your free copy of SMS Racing and play it with your teen. It’s a great opportunity for you to talk with your young drivers about the dangers of using their cell phones while driving and to spell out your rules and expectations about their driving privileges.