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Posted: February 28, 2013 8:55 p.m.

Should you send that text?

Did you know that the number one killer of teenagers is car accidents? While there are a multitude of reasons that contribute to the leading cause of death among teens, one of the most prevalent reasons is texting while driving.

When students at Newton High School were asked if they had ever texted while driving, a majority admitted to having done it before. Of those students, several said they believed texting while driving and being distracted by cell phones were the main causes of teen accidents. Although many teenagers are aware that texting and driving is dangerous, they ignore the potential repercussions and convince themselves that typing a quick message is harmless.

Texting makes a person 23 times more likely to get into a car accident without taking into account other factors, such as inexperience.

"Safe driving and texting do not get along. You can’t pay attention to the road if you’re distracted, looking at your phone," said Alexis Lacierva, a student at Newton High School.

While sending or receiving a text may seem harmless, it is actually equivalent to crossing a football field at 55 mph, blind. Additionally, the use of cell phones reduces brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. The brain is not fully focused on what is happening on the road; instead, it is focused on the trivial text message that is being sent or received.

In 2011, 3,331 people were killed because of distracted driving and that number is rising. This must be stopped. A text message play-by-play of what is happening at the party where you are headed is far less important than the lives you put at risk while not focusing on the road.

When put into perspective, texting while driving is an insanely dangerous idea and we must create awareness so that fewer teenagers are tempted to text and drive.Newton High School senior Crystal Pham said that it is imperative that young drivers are educated about the consequences of texting and driving.

"People can become more aware of the dangers of texting and driving if they take driver’s education courses where they can be educated about the risks," Pham said. Kiana Cohen, a Newton High student, said one of the best ways to minimize the temptation to text while driving is by "making sure all electronics are nowhere in sight."

In the state of Georgia, "the law prohibits drivers from using a cell phone, text messaging device, personal digital assistant, computer, or similar wireless device to write, send, or read text data while driving," according to drivinglaws.org. Texting and driving is illegal and a ticket can be issued if a person is caught.

Visit KeeptheDrive.com to find out more information and ways to get involved in helping teens become safe drivers.

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