When your teenager obtains their driver’s license, it’s time to sit down with them and discuss the dangers of distracted driving. This way, they can be a safe and responsible driver. Here are some conversation pieces to consider.
What Can Distracted Driving Lead to?
When teens drive while talking on cell phones and fiddle with the GPS or the stereo, this leads to distracted driving. This is one of the biggest causes of auto accidents on roads and highways. These devices cause mental and visual distractions that are dangerous to the driver and the passengers. It takes only a few seconds to crash your vehicle into a wall, pole, another vehicle, or even an aboveground storage tank that stores oil and severely injure those in the car.
The highest percentage of fatal accidents due to distracted driving according to the National Highway Safety Administration are caused by teens. Most teens over the age of 16 with a driver’s license text or email while driving. Auto accidents cause knee, back, and neck injuries that lead to taking prescription painkillers. While physical therapy for these injuries will reduce the need for painkillers, it’s not a situation you want your teenager driver or anyone to be put in.
Cell Phones and Other Devices
Talking or texting on a cell phone when driving is considered distracted driving. Teens should pull over at a gas station, restaurant, or rest stop to text and use their cell phone if they absolutely need to. They should not be texting while driving on the road. Many vehicles have infotainment systems that distract the driver with a touch screen. Drivers should have another passenger search for music or entertainment on these screens when they drive. They should not surf the web, check social media, or send text messages when driving.
Texting while driving in some states is considered a traffic violation and may be considered a criminal misdemeanor in some locations, which can lead to jail time if caught. Discuss these charges alongside the dangers of cell phone use while driving. Clearly articulate repercussions if this rule is broken.
Other Passengers in the Car
If your teen causes harm to others in the car, legal consequences may occur. A bail bond may be required to be posted to assure they come to court to face the consequences of their actions. A bail bond agency is an agency or person that posts money or property to assure a person will appear in court. Serious driving violations and accidents can lead to the need to take safety classes, losing your license, and jail time. You don’t want your teen to become involved in these situations, so discuss how other passengers can lead to distracted driving as well.
An accident that injures others may lead to legal charges. The guilt that goes with injuring someone due to your driving is another added burden that goes with the territory. Overall, teens should be taught that when they drive they are responsible for passengers in the car and on the road. They should drive as safely as possible.
Impaired driving is an accident caused by alcohol and drug use when driving. At times, prescription medications have side effects, and when combined with alcohol, they can cause accidents. Many accidents are caused by teens and adults drinking or taking drugs. This is another major cause of auto accidents. This can be prevented with education on the subject as well as an honest and open discussion about the dangers of impaired driving with your family. Make sure your teen knows that they can call you if they’re in danger.
Establish Driving Rules In Your Home
There are many organizations that address distracted driving. TXT Responsibility.org is a site that has a printout that can be given to teens about the danger of distracted driving. If you join, it requires you to take an oath that you will not text while driving. Safe Street is an organization that offers a safe driving course in North Caroline. Perhaps you can convince your local driving schools to offer this in the city that you live in for teens.
There is an organization called Teens Against Distracted Driving located in Washington D.C. There are many teen groups against distracted driving around the country. Perhaps you can organize one for teens in your area or have your children do this. Establish some rules in your home about distracted driving and set some ground rules with the teens in your household. Limit the number of passengers allowed in their car, curfews, and utilize apps that alert you if your teen uses unnecessary technology while driving their car.
Clearly articulate the consequences that will occur if your teenager violates your rules or the law. Taking a safe driving course and joining a local organization are other ways to engrain this information in your teen. Overall, be sure everyone in your family understands the importance of distracted driving and the dangers associated with it.