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"California teen safe driving week" takes on distracted driving

Teenagers have traditionally been the earliest and most enthusiastic adopters of new technologies, especially those having to do with communication. Anyone who has spent any significant amount of time with a California adolescent likely has seen that person glued to a cell phone or other mobile communications device. The fact that this same age group is also involved in getting their first drivers' licenses and is relatively inexperienced on the roads can lead to them being more susceptible to distracted driving.

To help combat this tendency, the state highway patrol is sponsoring a program aimed at high-school age drivers to educate them about the dangers inherent in texting and driving and other distracted driving behaviors. As part of 'California teen safe driving week,' a high school in nearby San Jose invited a Stockton woman and others to speak to its students about the dangers of texting and driving.

The 27-year-old woman related how she was answering a text from her boyfriend a few years ago when she struck and killed a 24-year-old man. Though she says she didn't realize she had killed anyone at the time, the police came to her place of employment a few days later to arrest her, and she was eventually sentenced to jail time.

The program also tries to use the technology that excites young people to help teach them about distracted driving by giving some students the chance to engage with a virtual reality device to simulate what can happen when answering a phone while driving. Considering that the California Highway Patrol estimates that over 30,000 people have been injured and over 250 killed in distracted driving accidents, any attempt to minimize the number of negligent drivers may be a good thing. California residents should remember that those who have been injured or had a loved one killed by a distracted driver may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: The Mercury News, "San Jose teens learn about dangers of distracted driving," Mark Gomez, April 4, 2017

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