Reducing Distracted Driving Among Teens
When most people think of distractions on the road they consider drowsy driving, impaired driving, and drunk driving. However, when it comes to teens and distracted driving the real enemy of safety is electronic devices. Any parent of a teenager knows how ridiculous teens have become with their texting. The reality is handheld cell phones are the primary cause of distracted driving among newly licensed teens, and the behavior is not only extremely dangerous but can have a life-altering impact on the texter and others. That is why we are going to take a closer look at teen driver distraction and what parents can do to improve driving safety!
Risk-Taking Behavior In Adolescence
Risk-Taking Behaviors Could Be Due To Brain Development
Before we get into the topic of teen distraction, let’s take a closer look at the science behind it all. Every day teens engage in risk-taking behaviors that could potentially put their lives in danger. Neuroscientists and researchers now believe that the risk-taking behaviors that teens frequently engage in are due to a lack of development in a specific portion of the brain that is responsible for executive decision-making and planning. Unfortunately, risk-taking can lead to a serious situation, especially among novice drivers. With the combination of risky driving, inexperience behind the wheel, and electronic devices, it is easy to see the increase in crash risk is a very serious concern for parents. Even more so with statistics highlighting that car accidents are the main cause for premature death among teens.
No Phone Zone Oprah
The danger of distracted driving is so great among newly licensed teen drivers that even celebrities are lending their voices to help enhance safe driving. One of those influencers leading the charge on traffic safety is Oprah Winfrey.
Oprah created an educational program and campaign called the “no phone zone“. In fact, one of her frequent guests, Dr. Phil, has done numerous shows on the dangers of texting and the need for tougher distracted driving laws. Although it is common to see the typical suburban mothers and businessmen talk on their cell phones while driving, teens are the number one distracted driver group. This is why student drivers, those with a learners’ permit, and adult drivers under the age of 25 need to understand that playing with handheld phones while driving can lead to a fatal crash.
Parents need to make teens aware that irresponsible teen driving can result in a traffic citation, revoked driver’s license, or even worse, a fatal accident that could result in the death of teen passengers.
So what are parents doing to help make sure that their teen drivers are following the rules of the road?
5 Tips To Stop Distracted Driving
- Put your cellphone in a purse, glove box, or any location you can’t easily access it
- Adjust your seats and mirrors before you begin driving
- If you accidentally drop something don’t try and reach for it
- Make sure you know where you are going before you begin your travel
- Have your meals/snacks before you drive
How Can I Protect My Teenager?
How Parents Can Shape Safe Driving Behaviors
Talking on the phone, texting, and browsing social media are all risky behaviors when done while driving. According to the AAA Foundation, engaging in distracted driver behaviors is nearly as dangerous as driving without seat belts. However, speeding is another problem when it comes to driver safety. This is the reason why organizations such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations encourage parents to invest in safe driving tools such as GPS tracking devices.