Indiana Leads Nation In Teen Driver Deaths
Doctor: texting while driving a top reason
Jun. 20, 2014
A new report shows that Indiana leads the country in teenage driver deaths, and a trauma doctor says many of them are preventable.
Overall, Indiana was in the middle of the pack in the survey of the best and worst states for teen drivers put together by the survey company Wallet Hub; the state ranked 26th out of the 50 states. But Indiana had the most teen driver deaths per licensed teenage driver in the country, and was second only to New Mexico in teen DUI's per licensed driver. Indiana also has the lowest percentage of teenage drivers who have driver's licenses.
Of the drivers who do have licenses, the major problem for teenage drivers is probably texting. "They don't feel that it reduces their capabilities when they are driving, and they don't realize what the consequences could be," said Dr. Lewis Jacobson, Chief of Trauma at St. Vincent Trauma Center in Indianapolis,and who has seen numerous teenage car accident victims. "It's a danger not only to themselves, but if they are distracted and hit a pedestrian or another car and injure or kill somebody else, let alone that it's a risk to themselves."
There are other distractions besides texting or making calls on a cell phone, but Jacobson says there is no doubt phone use is the most common these days, for teens and also many adults. He says despite the warnings, we don't seem to understand the level of distraction phones can be.
There are many programs where teen drivers are taught about the dangers of texting while driving, but Jacobson says parents could help in a simple way. "Setting an example by not texting and driving or not even speaking on a cell phone while driving, at least unless they are using a hands-free device."