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Teen Texting Accident Demonstrates Dangers of Distracted Driving

A Kansas City accident involving a teenager who was texting while driving demonstrates the tragic consequences that can result from distracted driving. To combat the persistent problem of distracted driving, the Missouri Highway Patrol has launched an anti-texting while driving campaign to complement the state's law banning texting while driving for younger drivers.

At the end of September, a 72-year-old woman was fatally injured when her car was hit by another driver in a distracted driving accident. The driver of the other car was a 16-year-old female. KMBC 9 news reports that the teen driver told law enforcement officials she had been looking at her cell phone and lost control of her SUV. The teenager tried to bring her car back under control, but unfortunately could not before crashing into the other car, resulting in the other woman's death.

Texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving are serious public health concerns. According to KMBC, in just the first six months of 2010, 791 crashes involving cell-phone use while driving occurred in Missouri. In these crashes, 239 people suffered injuries and eight people died. In addition, more than 17,000 car accidents were attributed to other forms of distracted driving in the first half of 2010.

Missouri law prohibits people younger than 21 years old from using texting devices while driving. But, the Missouri Highway Patrol (MHP) urges all drivers to refrain from the dangerous practice, as inattentive driving is the primary cause of all car accidents in the state, a representative said. To reduce the number of these tragic crashes, the MHP has launched an anti-texting while driving campaign that includes a 10-minute documentary made by AT&T to show the real-life impact of crashes caused by texting while driving.

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