West Valley High fights texting while driving

Cottonwood, Calif. - It's been compared to drunk driving and although it's been illegal in California for four years, almost everyone has texted while driving. 

And for those who are new to driving it can be especially dangerous.

That puts teenagers at the greatest danger for two major reasons, they're new to driving and they have grown up in the electronic society where texting is almost a necessity.

But today West Valley High School in Cottonwood is fighting back and taking part in the National Teen Driver Safety Week.

The week is designed to raise awareness to the dangers of texting while driving.

Today student volunteers along with Shasta County Public Health handed out Smarties to those "smartys" who were not texting while driving and Dum Dums to those who were texting.

According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2010 almost 3,000 teens were killed and another nearly 300,000 were injured in crashes.

But the greatest challenge will be convincing students of the dangers.  Many just don't seem to think it's a problem.

"Students aren't as enthused as they should be," Says West Valley High School Senior Ande Baldwin, "they just don't care.  A lot of people just don't think about it while they're driving."

She says everyone she knows texts while driving and admits to having done it in the past.

The prevalence of texting while driving has garnered concerns from more than just teachers and law enforcement.

Teachers told KRCR that some parents are so concerned that they're even afraid to drive their kids to school because of student's driving habits.

"Just over the last several months we have had quite a few parents that have had concerns about the driving habits of our students at school," says Scott Fairley, Leadership instructor at West Valley High School, "many [students] don't think that [texting] is a problem because it's just something that they do every day."

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is saying something very different though.

They've compared texting while driving to driving after drinking four beers.  And among teens texting while driving may be even more dangerous.

"I feel like it's the texting and driving [that's more dangerous]," says Ande Baldwin, "it's a lot easier to just pick up your phone and text someone than to go out and get drunk."

National Teen Driver Safety Week events will continue throughout this week with educational booths in the lunchroom and a crashed car displayed on campus.

You can find more information on National Teen Driver Safety Week here:

Parents click here

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