Texting teen caused fatal pile-up in Missouri, reports say

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Driver texting caused tragic pileup. Image: OregonDOT/Flickr/CC BY-SA

The National Traffic Safety Board has released its findings Tuesday on a fatal 2010 pile-up collision. According to the report, the accident was the result of a teen driver texting behind the wheel. The findings come right on the heels of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey showing that driver texting is on the rise.

Pile-up collision

The collision — which occurred on Aug. 5, 2010 — involved a pickup, a tractor and two school buses. The pickup rear-ended the tractor and was subsequently hit by the following school buses. The buses held about 50 students on their way to the Six Flags amusement park in St. Louis, Mo. The pickup driver and a 15-year-old student on one of the buses were killed. Thirty-eight others were injured.

According to federal safety officials, the 19-year-old driver of the pickup sent six texts and received five in the 11 minutes immediately preceding the collision.

NTSB Meets Tuesday

The NTSB is scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss the “distractive effects of portable electronic devices when used by drivers” and to make safety recommendations. In the past, the board has recommended banning texting and cell phone use for commercial drivers, but it has not made that same move for drivers of consumer vehicles.

The NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman told the Associated Press:

“This is trending very hot, and it’s a growing concern for the NTSB.”

NHTSA survey

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a survey of 6,000 drivers. Two out of ten admitted to texting behind the wheel at one time or another. Half of those surveyed between the ages of 21 and 24 admitted to doing it. According to the NHTSA, at any given time, one in every 100 drivers on the road is using a mobile device. In spite of increasing state-wide bans, the incidents are on the rise.

The NHTSA stakes out intersections yearly and counts the incidents of drivers texting, using cellphones or otherwise engaging in distracting behavior.


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