Texting and driving. Two words that do not belong in the same sentence, yet if you drive down the street and look around you, we can almost guarantee you’ll see at least one person driving with their phone in hand. It has become one of the most terrifying phenomenon of our times. Cell phone use while driving resulted in over 1.6 million vehicle related accidents last year, or 25% of all car accidents in the U.S. Need further proof of how harmful texting and driving is in our society? Statistically, 9 people are killed and over 1,000+ people are injured due to texting and driving every day within the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), texting and driving is at least 6x more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.
If you have a teen, you are probably well aware of the importance cellphones hold in their life. On average, 1 in 4 teens text while driving. As parents, keeping our kids safe is our #1 priority. We also know that talking to teens about safety is never easy, and hoping that they will listen and heed your advice is basically a pipe dream. Here are some ways to curb your teenage driver from texting and driving:
- For starters, you should lead by example. Many of your kids behaviors are learned. If you are a stickler for putting your phone away when driving or ignoring texts until after your vehicle is parked or turned off, chances are your kid will pick up on these habits and may choose to prioritize the same actions.
- Use technology to assist you in your crusade to prevent texting and driving. The iPhone has a feature called Do Not Disturb which can be set up to automatically turn on in a moving vehicle. There are also several apps in the Google and Apple app stores that are designed to manage your messages and calls or make your phone’s basic functions handsfree until you are done driving.
- Be relentless and remind your children of the dangers of texting and driving every single day. If you must, make it an annoying habit they find difficult to ignore. You never know when your voice is going to pop into your kid’s head head while they’re holding their steering wheel in one hand and phone in the other.
- If you know for a fact that your child is texting and driving, scare tactics might be your best bet. We don’t love the approach, but your kid’s life is more important than the consequences of listing off statistics such as the ones mentioned above. Let your kids know that, on average, it takes a person 5 seconds to read a text. Depending on your vehicle’s speed, you can drive the length of a football field in that same amount of time…not exactly a risk anyone would actively want to take, right?
- Start open dialogue about car safety, the importance of protecting yourself and how no text is more important than your kid’s life. Time is our most valuable commodity — remind your teens that by engaging in texting while driving, they could be cutting theirs short.
We hope these tips are helpful in convincing your teens to keep their eyes on the road when they are driving. If you or your teen has been involved in a car accident, contact the Parrish Law Firm at (571) 229 – 1800 today for a FREE, no cost consultation.