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Florida teen sends clear message to texting drivers

While most people have a general understanding that distracted driving is a problem on the roads and highways here in the U.S., they may not fully appreciate just how severe the problem actually is.

In light of this reality, a brief glance at statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may provide some much-needed insight: In 2012 alone, 3,328 people were killed and another 421,000 were injured in auto accidents caused by distracted drivers.

By far, one of the most common -- and dangerous -- types of distracted driving is people using their cell phones while driving or, to be more specific, using their cell phones to text while driving. Indeed, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has determined that texting drivers are 23 times more likely than non-texting drivers to be involved in an accident.

While federal agencies and vehicle safety advocacy groups are now mounting multi-million dollar nationwide campaigns to raise awareness about the danger of texting while driving, another decidedly more grass roots effort directed at the same issue is also underway here in Florida.

This effort is being spearheaded by none other than a teenage girl from Boca Raton who carries a sign emblazoned with the phrase "Caught ya! Stop texting and driving!" while riding as a passenger in her mother's car.

Whenever the teen spots an offending motorist, she simply deploys the sign alerting them to keep their eyes on the road. Thus far, she says the initiative has proven effective, as those motorists caught red-handed haven't been angry, but rather embarrassed.

"I think it's more effective when a teen or a kid tells someone, more than when another adult tells another adult," said the girl. "I've never had anyone get mad. They usually give a little nod showing that they understand it's not good."

The idea for publicly shaming texting drivers was born out of the teen's good deed project that she is required to complete prior to her impending bat mitzvah. However, it appears as if the project won't be coming to an end anytime soon as her efforts have garnered more than 100 likes on her Facebook page and resulted in the printing of 500 anti-texting while driving signs to be distributed throughout the community.

Here's hoping that these efforts continue to

If you have lost a loved one in a car accident caused by distracted driving or the reckless driving of another, consider speaking with an experienced attorney to learn more about your options.

Source: WPTV, "Teen shames texting drivers," Evan Axelbank, Jan. 2014

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