October 11, 2010
At Albemarle High School's Driver Education Program, new drivers learn about many driving hazards, including texting and driving.
Richard Wharam, the Education Coordinator of the Program, says "teens today are driving on highways that are more congested, dealing with electronics and other distractions, and by far the worst are cell phones and texting."
Research shows that when drivers are engrossed in their cell phones, they lose their side and peripheral vision, and only have what is called "tunnel vision."
This can create a very dangerous situation for all drivers on the road. Wharam adds, "A twenty year old female was driving, talking on her cell phone...hit a car and killed a 12 year old boy in the back seat. She has to live with that for the rest of her life."
In order to prevent the dangerous habit, Wharam recommends disabling the texting service for new drivers.
Research shows that girls are more likely to be guilty of texting than boys. 51% of teen girls admitted to texting and driving, whereas only 31% of teen boys confessed to the habit.
All of the Driver's Education is paying off, teen crash rates for Albemarle High School have decreased significantly over the years:
2004/05 - 26.91% of first year drivers were involved in a crash.
2005/06 - 16.6% of first year drivers were involved in a crash.
2006/07 - 11.4% of first year drivers were involved in a crash.
2007/08 - 4.32% of first year drivers were involved in a crash