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Distracted driving and teens

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is travelling across the province to speak to teens about the risks of distracted driving after the release of new data showing that the practice is a leading cause of accidents for young people. A little more than one-third of teen drivers who were in accidents since 2009 were distracted. One young woman said that she does not like to talk on her phone while driving because of her lack of experience, even though it is tempting.

One mother is familiar with the dangers of distracted driving because her daughter, who was 8 years old at the time, was in an accident due to a distracted driver. More than three years after the crash, her daughter still struggles with the effects of the car accident. She suffered short-term memory loss, a concussion and is still dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. The mother started an education and prevention program, Drop It And Drive, to increase awareness of the issue.

The goal of the ICBC tour is that the speakers will convince teens to think of the consequences of driving distracted when they get behind the wheel. One speaker relayed her experiences after being in a life-changing wreck more than 25 years ago. She lost both of her legs, suffered burns over more than 50 per cent of her body, endured more than 20 operations in 12 months and was in a burn unit for seven months.

The problem of distracted driving has become increasingly serious, in part due to cellphones and portable electronics. If someone who has been injured by a distracted driver wishes to hold the driver financially accountable for the injuries in addition to any citations to law enforcement, he or she might choose to file a lawsuit against the driver.

Source: CBC News, "Distracted driving top cause of youth crashes in B.C.", March 14, 2014

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