Thursday, March 12, 2015

Teens, Texting and Distracted Driving -- A Dangerous Combination

The statistics are alarming. Distracted driving has become an issue that’s hit epidemic proportions.  As a parent, what can you do to keep your family, especially young drivers, safe while behind the wheel?

According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, here are some statistics regarding teens and distracted driving:

4 times more likely to have an accident or near miss when texting.
3 times more likely to crash when eating.
7-8 times more likely to have an incident while reaching for a phone.
8 times more likely to have a mishap when dialing a phone.

And there’s more alarming news. According to a recent study, drivers engage in other activity approximately 10 percent of the time while operating a motor vehicle.

Why is texting while driving such an issue for young drivers?

Distractions of any type – eating, adjusting the radio, windows and seats, and even loud conversation in the car – can result in accidents, especially with young drivers who have little experience behind the wheel.
Texting is particularly concerning because in a recent study, 77% of young adults claim they are very confident they can safely text while driving. That confidence in young drivers can be dangerous, even deadly.
Text messaging makes a crash up to 23x more likely.
Among drivers ages 18-20, between 11 and13 percent admitted sending or receiving texts at the time they crashed.

When should you speak with your kids about distracted driving?

It’s never too early to start speaking with your children about the dangers of distractions while driving. Teach kids of any age the importance of focusing and eliminating distractions while operating a motor vehicle.

How can you make an impact regarding the dangers of distracted driving?

Set a good example. Don’t engage in texting, talking on the phone, or any other distracting behavior while driving. Kids learn more by your actions than by what you tell them. Yet, close to 50 percent of young drivers have seen their parents talking on the phone while driving. Fifteen percent have witnessed parents engaged in texting while behind the wheel.
Share information. Driving while intexticated, a term coined by this organization, can be just as deadly as driving under the influence of alcohol. Discuss this issue with your children, especially those who are driving.
Take the pledge. As a family, agree to engage in safe driving. One way to do this is by taking the text-free driving pledge.

Where can you go for more information?

1. Visit sites such as for valuable information regarding the issue of distracted driving.
2. Since laws vary from state to state, become familiar with your state’s laws regarding cellphone use by checking out this site.
3. Check out options such as Drivecam and AT&T drive mode to see if they might be useful for your family.

Keeping your family safe and focused, even while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, can be an attainable and painless goal!  Drive safely.

Live Healthy. Live Smart

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