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Think texting and driving is no big deal? Think again

Text messaging is on the rise in California and across the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 171 billion text messages were either received or sent by Americans in December 2012.

It may seem like sending or receiving a text message is no big deal no matter where you are. However, there is at least one place where you should put the phone down and neither send nor receive a text -- when you are driving. Texting while driving can lead to a serious or even fatal car accident.

The CDC reports that over nine individuals every day lose their lives in accidents caused by a distracted driver, and over 1,050 are injured. Some of these distracted driving accidents involve drivers who are texting while behind the wheel.

Text messaging while driving takes your eyes and your attention off the road. In fact, there are three ways a driver is distracted while texting. First, the driver is visually distracted and not watching the road. The Second is manual distraction as the driver focuses their attention on typing or opening a text message. The third kind of distraction is cognitive distraction, meaning the driver is taking his or her mind off the task of driving. If you are sending a text message while driving, you are subject to all three of these types of distractions.

Texting and driving is not just a distraction - it is dangerous both to you, your passengers and everyone else on the road. If a driver is texting and driving and causes an accident, it will likely be considered negligent behavior that may lead to a lawsuit. In the end, when a person is driving, they should simply put their cell phone down until they reach their destination, or else they risk causing an accident that injures or kills an innocent individual.

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