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Editorial: It is time to pay attention in driving

The statistics are quite clear -- distracted driving can be deadly and this trend is growing fast.

Federal safety officials announced Thursday that the texting while driving trend has increased 50 percent last year, in spite of numerous states making the practice illegal.

According to an Associated Press story, two out of 10 drivers said they have texted while driving. That trend skyrockets much higher among young adult drivers.

Here are the facts, according to the National highway Traffic Safety Administration:

* An estimated 3,092 deaths in crashes in the U.S. resulted from distracted driving in 2010.

* More than 20 percent of drivers admit to texting while driving.

* More than 50 percent of young drivers admit to texting while driving.

Two examples of recent deaths:

* An Indiana accident Wednesday was caused by a distracted driver looking at his iPod and the man's son suffered a broken leg.

* A New York accident Wednesday reportedly caused by distracted driving resulting in the death of the woman driver and serious injury to her son.

* A Montreal, Can., teen was sentenced recently to 14 years in prison for distracted driving, when he responded to a cell phone ring, swerved, hit and killed a three-year-old in her yard.

Young drivers have grown up in an era of texting and multitasking -- it is their norm.

It is critical to change the texting culture as young people become drivers, said Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog.

We agree.

Young drivers should remember that they can not only lose their own life, but the lives of their friends.

These drivers can also lose their driving privileges due to an accident crash or speeding ticket due to distracted driving.

The driver can also spend significant time in prison if they cause hard and death to others.

Texting, iPod changing and driving do not work well together, even for the best multi-tasking teen in the world.

Simple don't do it and the life you save may be your own. That applies to teenagers and adults.