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Over the last few months startling statistics about distracted driving, in particular texting while driving, has shown the dangerous and often deadly propensity of individuals who text while they drive. However, the message about intoxicated drivers cannot be stated enough.

I typically look online at the local paper every morning and the headline this morning was “Tulsa police blame texting teen for outage.” According to the story

Tulsa police say an accident that left about two dozen people without power in central Tulsa happened after a teenage driver who was sending a text message crashed into a power pole.

The accident happened about 8:45 p.m. Sunday near the intersection of 23rd and Yale. Police say the teen was texting when he looked up at the last second, swerved to avoid a car and crashed into the pole.

It’s a sad but regretfully not uncommon story of our teens and adults texting while they are driving. Oklahoma typically has several hundred deaths in automobile related accidents each year. This number will continue to rise if we do not stop this pandemic of driving while texting.

For parents – the focus of my practice is trucking accidents and car wrecks. I see numerous examples each year of inexperienced teenagers crashing their cars due to inattentive driving. My 17 year-old daughter is guilty of hundreds of texts each month but in order to maintain her cell phone and automobile privileges the rule in my household is the cell phone is to be placed in the back seat. I will conduct random stops which include stops as soon as she drives into my driveway or other times just to see where the cell phone is. I will also compare call and text times with known driving times. If she is caught texting or calling while driving she loses her car. While some may call me anal this is the only way I know to protect her. So do the same, spend the time and incorporate rules that bare serious consequences when it comes to teenagers driving behind the wheel. My daughter has not been guilty of cell phone usage because she knows the car privileges will be gone.

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