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61867865_MMobile technology has contributed a slew of benefits in our 21st Century world, but the shift to cellular technology has come at a price. An average of one dozen teens every day in the U.S. become another tragic statistic of texting while driving. While we wouldn’t go so far as to compare texting behind the wheel as an activity equivalent to jumping out of plane without a parachute, it’s not farfetched to compare it to one of the more dangerous things a person can do. Enough data has now been compiled to sufficiently demonstrate that drivers cannot safely operate a vehicle and send and receive text messages at the same time. Any non-driving activity you engage in behind the wheel is a potential distraction and increases your risk of an accident. For a driver of any age, using a cell phone while driving reduces brain functions needed for safe driving by nearly 40 percent. Texting, however, is the most alarming form of distracted driving. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. That’s definitely something you don’t want to do. Make a pledge to put your cell phone down or turn it off while you’re driving. Speak up if you’re in a car driven by a friend who picks up their phone to send or read a text while driving. Your life is in their hands! Some other important steps to take to stay safe while driving: • Make a pledge to not use your phone while driving by turning it off and/or putting it out of reach •Avoid having a heated debate or argument with a passenger •Eat before you start driving. Studies show that eating behind the wheel reduces your reaction time. • If something falls to the floor, pull over before trying to reach it. • Avoid looking into the back seat to see what’s going on in the back of the car. • Set a playlist before you start driving. Fiddling with the radio or your streaming service while driving can dramatically increase your odds of an accident.