Texting While Driving Becoming A Bigger Problem With Teenagers

By: Barclay Pollak Email
By: Barclay Pollak Email

Posted Monday, April 20, 2009 -- 9:30 p.m.

People do lots of things they shouldn't do while driving.

Adjusting the stereo, playing with their MP3 players and texting.

The problem has gotten so bad that groups that once focused on curbing drunk driving have expanded their focus to include texting.

"I don't mind it for the right purposes. "

There is a time and place for everything.

For Lauri Weishoff, the time to text never occurs while driving.

"I think it is hard to concentrate while you're text messaging and driving at the same time."

That's why Weishoff, her 15-year-old son Trey and dozens of other parents and soon-to-be-drivers are at Prairie View Middle School in Sun Prairie.

They're here to talk to their kids about safe driving practices.

"It's not only dangerous for yourself. But dangerous of the other people around you driving."

Lauren Handel is a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions or SADD.

The group, which was founded as Students Against Drunk Driving, is sponsoring Teen Traffic Safety Night.

"It's destructive decisions all around not just drunk driving. "

Instead of just talking about drunk driving they now talk about things like texting as well.

"Just like drinking and driving they need to separate their texting and driving."

Deputy Randy Wiessinger is assigned to the Dane County Traffic Enforcement Team.

He says underage drinking and driving is still a huge concern.

But more and more teens are being pulled over for inattentive driving.

He thinks the road may not be the only thing they're focused on when they get behind the wheel.

"Whether they're texting without looking or reading the messages it's certainly distracting them from their driving. More so than just your average phone call."

Texting while driving isn't illegal. But it continues to be a problem for teens on the road.

A problem parents would just prefer to address before it's too late.

Deputy Wiessinger says it's tough to actually catch teens texting while driving because of how quick they are.

But they do see a lot of people, not just teens, reading text messages while driving.

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