A North Carolina (N.C.) teenager lost her life in a fatal car accident last weekend, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times. Police say texting was a factor in the crash. 

The driver, only 16-years-old, was texting moments before her car swerved and crashed into oncoming traffic. The driver of the vehicle she crashed into received non-life threatening injuries. The teen however was taken to the hospital, where she died one day after the accident. 

Our thoughts and our sincerest sympathies go out to this young woman’s family and friends. It is absolutely heart wrenching to hear of a young life lost in an accident that could have been prevented. 

The tragic loss of her life teaches drivers a serious and chilling lesson-texting while driving can not only be dangerous, it can be deadly. 

Texting while driving
 is a form of distracted driving, which unfortunately is becoming an increasing trend, especially among young drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2008, crashes involving distracted drivers caused close to 6,000 fatalities. The NHTSA further reports that drivers under 20 are involved in 16% of all distracted driver fatal crashes. 

Many drivers don’t realize that texting while driving is the equivalent of driving drunk. Distraction.Gov reports that using a cell phone while driving “delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.” The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety further states that “drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.”  

These alarming statistics have prompted talk show host Oprah Winfrey to begin a “No Phone Zone” campaign, which asks drivers to pledge to stop using cell phones while driving or to use hands-free calling. 

Closer to home, a student at Cape Henry Collegiate in Virginia Beach organized a distracted driving simulation event to help teach his peers the dangers of texting while driving. The teen shared with his peers a strong message: “”It can wait! A call or a text is not as important as driving a car.” 

Our firm is extremely concerned about the number of accidents and innocent lives lost due to distracted driving.  While many states have been cracking down on cell phone usage while driving-23 states in total-more still needs to be done. We congratulate those, like Oprah and the student at Cape Henry Collegiate, for taking the initiative to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving, and hope that their efforts will help lead drivers to put down their phones when they are behind the wheel.