AT&T, Police Urge Teens To Stop Texting While Driving

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The statewide texting ban holds special significance for an up-and-coming generation of drivers who text significantly more than their parents.

Police and other officials are working to reach those drivers at a young age.

The statistics on teens texting and driving may surprise you.  They speak for themselves.

"Ninety-seven percent of teens say they know texting while driving is dangerous, yet 43 percent admit to doing it," said Dave Hargrove, AT&T Regional Director.  "Seventy-five percent say the practice is very common among their friends.  Seventy percent of teens believe texting while stopped at a red light is dangerous.  Yet 60 percent admit to doing it."

It reflects teen culture.

"Almost all of the teens surveyed expect a reply to a text or email within five minutes or less," said Hargrove.

Police say texting while driving contributes to many accidents with injuries and even deaths.  However, they think teens may not even realize the damage they're setting themselves up to inflict.

"The intent is obviously not to go out and hurt or kill somebody, but the fact is with the age group, because they think they are so invincible to the point that they feel like 'I've got this' and they can do both, and not even realize, they're drifting off the road," said Huntsville Police Captain Kirk Giles.  "It's frustrating."

A new texting while driving ban won't eliminate teens' desire to text, and it won't change their culture.  That takes a joint effort.

"So let's work together.  Let's not be afraid to nag each other about it," said Hargrove.  "And let's remember even when we may be in a safe place to text, the recipient may not be."

Alabama's texting ban for drivers takes effect Wednesday, August 1.

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