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WYO Campaign: Safety Speaks Louder than a Text Message

September 6, 2011

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Safety first, texting second. It's a message for teens and parents as the school season gets under way.

A new crop of teen drivers is behind the wheel, along with the regular uptick in the number of youngsters walking and bicycling to school and a reactivation of school zones. Driving to school is a rite of passage, says Diana Rhodes, Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association president, but one that needs a special emphasis on staying safe.

"It's a wonderful feeling to have such responsibility. However, today's youth have more distractions due to mobile devices, which can mean less concentration on the road and more potential for disaster."

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 92 percent of drivers agree that texting is a serious safety concern. At the same time, about 25 percent admit to texting or other use of mobile devices while behind the wheel. Drivers caught texting while driving in Wyoming can be issued a $75 citation.

Every day, Rhodes says, trial lawyers see the unfortunate effects of incidents where safety wasn't heeded, causing death and lifelong harm. Nearly every time, the incident was preventable, she says, and that's always the case with mobile devices and driving.

"Urging parents and young drivers to pay particular attention to the road. Put the cell phone down."

Guides for parents to help encourage safer teen driving, along with survey results about texting and driving, are at online at AAAFoundation.org.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY