As the number of distracted driving victims relentlessly increases, there is no better time to remind young drivers who are close to you about the importance of staying focused while behind the wheel.
Teenagers are at risk
Distracted driving among teenagers has remained a persistent issue in the country, sparking national public awareness campaigns like #justdrive or AT&T’s “It Can Wait,” with the aim to highlight the fatal risks that come with reading and typing texts while driving. As teens become more and more reliant on their smartphones for communication these days, it’s no surprise that they are the largest age group reported to be distracted at the time of a fatal crash, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports.
Although texting is considered especially dangerous while driving because it requires the use of hands, the brain, and the eyes all at once (reportedly increasing a teen’s risk for an accident by a startling 400%), it’s important to keep in mind that distractions for drivers aren’t just limited to smartphones. A 2016 study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed the most distracting influence on teenagers while driving is the presence of other passengers.
“The most effective approach a parent can take to teach their teen safe driving habits is by staying actively involved in the learning process.”
What parents can do
Perhaps the biggest worry for the parents of a newly-licensed driver is the risk for dangerous driving habits to develop as their teen gains experience driving without parental supervision. For those who share this fear, some parents have found apps that shut down or monitor en-route cell phone activity to be the most effective anti-distraction measure. By disabling or tracking smartphones while in motion, apps (such as Canary, DriveSmart, and DriveScribe) can provide the consistent oversight to correct risky distracted driving habits that may creep up as a teen learns the rules of the road.
While apps do offer additional oversight, research has shown that the most effective approach a parent can take to teach their teen safe driving habits is by staying actively involved in the learning process. Parents that host practice driving sessions, sign mutual agreements to dictate specific driving rules, and put their own phones down while driving to set an example for their teen are able to have the greatest influence in reducing accidents and legal violations caused by distracted driving.
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Florin Roebig represents victims who have been injured in accidents on the road. See our ‘Transit Accidents’ page for more details. If you have been hurt in a collision, it is best to consult with an attorney to determine what protections apply to you and if you can be compensated.
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Visit this page for information on how to pass on safe driving habits to teenagers.