Dangers of Texting and Driving for Teens
May 18, 2017
Teens and Distracted Driving
Every day in the United States, six teens die in car accidents, and thousands more are injured. Parents can help keep their teens safe by educating them on the risks of distracted driving, helping them develop good habits for safe, distraction-free driving, and holding them accountable for poor driving choices.
Distracted driving is a serious and life-threatening problem. Statistics on distracted driving indicate:
- New drivers (aged 16-17) are three times more likely to have an accident than older, more experienced drivers (aged 18-19).
- One in three teens aged 16-17 admits to texting while driving.
- Nearly half of teens ages 12-17 say they’ve been a passenger in a vehicle while the driver was texting and driving.
- Males, aged 16-18, are two times more likely to die in a car accident than female drivers in the same age bracket.
Educate Your Teen on the Dangers of Distracted Driving
So how can parents help keep their teens safe? Start by discussing the dangers of distracted driving honestly and openly. Children listen to their parents, and they also learn from their example. If you want your teen to stay safe, hold yourself accountable for safe driving habits. Don’t text and drive, never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and show your teens by your example what it means to be a safe, responsible driver.
Distraction-free, safe driving means never taking your attention from the road, even for a moment. Studies indicate looking down to check your phone while driving is the same as driving down the length of a football field wearing a blindfold.
We know texting while driving is dangerous, but teens often don’t realize other common and seemingly innocuous behaviors are risky as well. In fact, research suggests simply having a conversation while driving quadruples the risk of injury. Help your teen identify common driving distractions, then be on the lookout for dangerous situations before they occur.
Common driving distractions include:
- Passengers: Newly licensed drivers should drive alone or with a parent to eliminate the risk of being distracted by friends or other passengers.
- Technology: Don’t use navigation systems, text, check social media, or look for music while driving. Use technology only while the car is safely parked.
- Eating or drinking: Wait until you’ve arrived at your destination to eat and drink. Spilling a bottle of water or reaching for food can cause accidents.
- Looking in the mirror: Your appearance can wait. Never apply makeup, comb hair, or check your teeth while driving.
- Drowsiness: Don’t get behind the wheel if you feel tired. If you’re driving and start to feel drowsy, pull over.
- Poor weather conditions: Check the weather before setting out in the car and try to avoid wet, snowy, foggy, or icy conditions.
- Entertainment: Don’t change radio stations, search for songs, or change DVDs while driving.
- Alcohol or substance abuse: Never drive after drinking or using illegal drugs.
Finally, before you allow your teen driver to get behind the wheel, ask them to sign a distracted driving pledge stating that they’ll minimize distractions and focus on driving safely. Be sure to outline exactly what will happen if your teen does not uphold to their agreement.
The attorneys at Whiting Law have seen the aftermath of far too many car accidents and want to help your teen avoid distractions and stay safe. If you have been injured in an accident and have questions, give us a call. Our caring, helpful staff is always ready to answer your questions.