The odds are that when you see a Montana State University student, you are looking at someone who has engaged in the dangerous activity known as texting while driving. According to new research, four of every five college students across the nation have sent or received texts while behind the wheel.
Most of the students understand the risks of car accidents involved in the activity and do it anyway, researchers said.
Past research has shown that texting impairs a driver's ability to react to events on the road or in their vehicle, making texting drivers even more dangerous than drunk drivers.
Because nearly everyone carries a cell phone these days, the temptation to steal a glance at a phone that signals it has received a message is often too great for some.
According to the new research, male college students are more likely to text than female students, with many of the men saying that they do it because they believe they're equipped to read texts and safely navigate their vehicle at the same time.
"There seems to be a mentality that use of electronic devices is dangerous for everyone but 'me,'" researchers said.
College students certainly aren't the only ones engaging in texting here in Bozeman: about half of all adult drivers admit to sending or receiving a text while behind the wheel.
We recently wrote about a tragedy north of us in which a 42-year-old pedestrian was killed by a car driven by a woman who had allegedly been drinking, speeding and texting. The driver apparently told authorities she believed she had struck a horse, which is why she kept driving.
Families of victims of drunk drivers or distracted drivers often are unwilling to accept those kinds of explanations. In many situations, the families want to ensure that those who engage in this sort of reckless behavior are held fully accountable.
That process of holding them responsible for their actions often begins with a conversation with an experienced attorney.
Source: Business Insider, "80% Of College Students Text And Drive Even Though It's Worse Than Driving Drunk," Michael Kelley, Oct. 13, 2013