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Americans won't stop texting and driving

Americans have a problem with their cellphones.

In specific, they don't seem to know how to stop using their phones while they're behind the wheels of their cars. Even parents -- the people who should be most concerned not only with the safety of their precious cargo but also with setting an example -- can't seem to stop themselves from texting and driving.

According to information from a recently-released study, the historic rise in traffic fatalities around the nation has a lot to do with the historic rise in popularity of the smartphone. Everyone seems to have one of those remarkable little gadgets in their hands -- all of the time -- even when they're behind the wheel.

Texting while driving is a major problem. Half of the nation's parents are guilty of using their phones even while they have kids in their cars -- despite laws in nearly every state against texting and driving. One third of parents admit to reading texts on their phone while they're behind the wheel. A quarter of parents admit they'll even send texts when driving. One out of seven parents has even checked in on social media while driving a car sometime in the prior three months.

Those are the kinds of statistics that should scare everyone on the road. The reality is that even if you're doing everything you can to be a responsible driver, the odds are really good that you are sharing the road with someone who is completely distracted by something on Facebook or busy composing a text when he or she should be watching the road. Even worse, they may be teaching the next generation of drivers that it's okay to do the same.

Until there's a cultural shift that turns people off the habit of using their cellphones while driving, it's wisest to be cautious when you're on the road. If you are in a car accident and you suspect the other driver was on his or her phone, make sure that you tell your attorney. There are ways to prove your suspicions -- and that can go a long way toward holding distracted drivers accountable for their actions.

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