It just makes sense that a person can’t text and drive a car at the same time. Distracted driving causes crashes, and people can get hurt or killed. That’s why responsible drivers don’t text and drive (or talk on the phone while driving), and they don’t allow other distractions to pull their attention from the road.
Distracted Driving Is Dangerous
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than half of teen drivers reported using a cell phone while driving, and more than 1 in 4 reported typing or sending a text message while driving in the previous 30 days. When it’s time for you to get behind the wheel of a car, don’t let yourself be a distracted driver. And don’t ride with distracted drivers, either – safe driving comes first.
State Distracted Driving Laws
Distracted driving could leave you responsible for a crash in which other people could be hurt or even killed. At the least, you could end up with a traffic ticket. In Oregon, drivers under age 18 are banned from using any kind of wireless communication device while driving, including all handheld and hands-free cell phones and text messaging devices. Possible consequences of a ticket include:
- Suspended driving privileges
- Attorney’s fees
- Court costs
- Insurance rate increases
The law does not single out teen drivers, either. Oregon has similar restrictions for adults, who may not text and drive or use a handheld cell phone while behind the wheel.
Electronic devices aren’t the only distractions a driver faces. Passengers can be distracting, too. This is one reason Oregon’s graduated driver licensing system bans non-family teen passengers under age 20 for the first 6 months of driving, unless supervised by a licensed parent, stepparent or legal guardian, and allows no more than three non-family teen passengers under 20 for the second 6 months.
Key Tips for Safe Driving
- Distracted driving does not just involve cell phones and other wireless devices. Eating, drinking, chatting with a passenger, reading a map, personal grooming, reaching for objects or looking at people or objects unrelated to the driving task are all things that could lead to a crash.
- As you get ready to learn to drive, ask your parents, driving instructor or other supervising driver how they minimize dangerous driving distractions and stay focused on driving.
- Even as a passenger, you can help others avoid distractions. If you’re ever riding with friends who are texting, on a cell phone, speeding or otherwise behaving recklessly, speak up. Tell your friends to focus on safe driving, ask to help them manage the phone or, if they do not change their risky behavior, ask to be dropped off.