Texting and driving is one of the most discussed driving distractions today. Young drivers especially are subject to the temptations of reckless and distracted driving. Reckless behavior including tailgating, speeding, ignoring traffic signals or illegal lane crossing is dangerous enough without adding the distraction of a cell phone.
Distration.gov cites a multitude of studies and reports regarding the dangers of texting while driving.
- Klauer et al., NEJM, 2014: “Novice drivers engaged in secondary tasks more frequently over time…possibly because of increased confidence in driving.”
- NHTSA, 2011: In a telephone survey, young drivers, 18-20, reported highest level of phone use in accidents or near-crash events.
- University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 2012: A teen whose parents text and drive is more likely to text and drive him/herself. Also, teens text (read or send) while driving at least once a trip as much as “26 times more often than their parents think they do.”
This is just a sampling of the research studies cited. Read on for some helpful tips to prevent teens from texting and driving.
Tips to Prevent Teens from Texting and Driving
Every parent worries when a child begins driving. Teaching your child to be responsible and respectful of the rules of the road can increase the likelihood that he or she will have a successful and accident-free driving experience. It will also ease your mind to know that your young driver is well educated and committed to safe driving.
Keep these tips in mind to prevent your teen from texting and driving while behind the wheel.
- Model appropriate behavior: If you text while driving, your teen may be more likely to pick up that same habit. Being a good role model to your teen means putting your phone away when you get in the car and practicing focused driving.
- Don’t be afraid to use punishment as a deterrent for unacceptable behavior: When it comes to something as dangerous as texting and driving, the punishment should fit the crime. Don’t hesitate to use swift and heavy punishment to communicate how strongly you feel about safe driving. Restrict driving immediately and let your teen know why you are serious about the offense. It is for his or her safety.
- Talk to your child about the statistics: Teens are at an age where they feel that they are indestructible. Be sure that you tell them how you feel about the risks involved with texting and driving and back up your opinions with hard data. Don’t shy away from scary truths. Tell your teen how many young drivers are killed and seriously hurt as a result of texting while driving.
- Have your teen driver sign a contract: Let your son or daughter know that driving privileges are earned by safe driving practices and lost by reckless behavior such as texting and driving. Have him or her sign a contract to that effect.
- Reward safe behavior: Just like punishment as a means to stop negative behavior, use rewards to encourage ongoing safe driving. If your teen is displaying excellent driving skills and you are sure that he or she is not texting and driving, offer a reward and tell him or her how proud you are of this responsible behavior.
- Use phone apps to restrict texting while driving: In this age of technological advances, there are constantly new options available for every purpose. Preventing teens from texting and driving is no exception to the rule. There are multiple apps available that function in various ways to help restrict texting in a moving vehicle or that notify the parent of reckless driving behavior. Some examples of apps are: SafeTexting, SpeedBumpGPS or Textecution.
What if my child has been injured in an accident due to texting and driving?
If your teen has been hurt as a result of texting and driving—either his or her own or someone else’s—Rob Levine and Associates can help explore legal options to recover compensation. Call 1-800-LAW-1222 for a free consultation.