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Washington State Attorney General warns of texting and driving

A national survey released by the Ad Council found that 60 percent of drivers ages 16 to 24 say they have texted while driving. Washington's State Attorney General Rob McKenna says that statistic is alarming, especially since the dangers of texting and driving are already well-known. For young license-holders who are already more accident-prone than other drivers, texting while driving often leads to terrible crashes including fatal motor vehicle accidents.

The National Association of Attorneys General, of which McKenna is the president, joined the Ad Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to create a national coalition that is releasing a series of new nationwide public service announcements. The group is also introducing a nationwide "Stop the Texts Day" during National Youth Traffic Safety Month.

The NHTSA reported that more than 3,000 people were killed and nearly a half million were injured in 2010 because of distracted driving, such as texting. The commercials, social media sites and other organizations are helping teens learn facts about risky driving behaviors and how to curb their texting addictions.

The survey also found that 44 percent of young drivers reported that their peers are the most influential resource to encourage them to stop texting and driving. McKenna hopes that texting while driving will become as socially unacceptable as not wearing a seat belt.

At least 37 states have laws prohibiting cell phone use by novice drivers and have banned texting while driving altogether. In Washington State, drivers caught texting and driving are subject to a $124 fine. The cost goes up to $175 if the texting distraction causes a collision.

Source: lakestevensjoural.com, "McKenna warns teens about driving-while-texting," May 3, 2012

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