Texting while driving is becoming a menace on Massachusetts roads. Over 3,000 people were killed in traffic accidents caused by distracted driving on American roadways in 2010, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Some reports put that figure much higher. The number of nonfatal injuries attributable to texting while driving stands in the hundreds of thousands every year.

Teenaged drivers were behind the wheel for most of these accidents. The NHTSA reports that drivers aged 18 to 20 are nearly three times more likely than other age groups to report that they were reading or sending a text when an accident occurred.

Drivers that look at a text while driving take their eyes off the road for more than four seconds, according to the agency. When driving at 55 miles per hour, four seconds is long enough to drive about 100 yards.

Recently near Worcester, high school students have been learning about the dangers of texting while driving. The class, in Easton, has taught almost 4,000 young drivers about the problems of distracted driving by using a driving simulation computer. Still, too many young drivers think an accident will never happen to them.

Those who have been injured in a car accident caused by distracted driving face heavy medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other costs. They may be compensated if they can prove that their injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence. Drivers are negligent when they fail to exercise the same level of care that a reasonable driver would under the circumstances and someone is injured as a result.

A driver who has been speeding, driving while intoxicated or otherwise breaking traffic laws is generally not exercising reasonable care. The same goes for drivers who have been taking their eyes off the road to send or read a text message.

Source: Wicked Local Easton, “Easton teens get crash course in distracted driving,” Susan Parkou Weinstein, Feb. 20, 2013