Teenagers look forward to the day they can drive on their own. It’s a mark of independence, but it’s also one of great responsibility. Talking with your teen about the dangers of texting and driving is critical to keeping not only them safe, but everyone they encounter on the roadways. You can start by discussing the risks and setting the expectations of all drivers in your household. Modeling safe driving practices will send the message you are serious about not texting and driving.
Hard Facts About Texting and Driving
The statistics on the dangers of texting teen drivers are sobering. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported the following results of distracted driving. (Source: NHTSA.gov)
Make sure your teen knows:
- 2,841 lives were lost in 2018 from distracted driving.
- An estimated 400,000 people were injured by distracted drivers in 2018.
- 400 pedestrians and 77 cyclists were killed by distracted drivers in 2018.
- Around 23,000 people died from distracted driving from 2012-2018.
Texting While Driving is Dangerous as Driving Impaired
It may come as a surprise, but texting while driving can be just as or even more hazardous than drunk driving. Both instances limit a driver’s reaction time and decision-making abilities. When teens text and drive it means their eyes are off the road, they have at least one hand off the steering wheel, and their mind is focused on reading or writing a text message. This is a potentially deadly combination for any driver regardless of his or her sobriety level.
Utilize the “Do Not Disturb” Feature While Driving
One of the best ways to keep your teen from being distracted while driving is creating the habit of using the “Do Not Disturb” function on his phone. Just like using a seat belt every time they drive quickly becomes a habit, so can using this feature. While the phone is on “Do Not Disturb,” teen drivers will not be tempted to look at their phones when they hear a message alert. It will also not activate their smart watch, which can be an additional source of distracted driving. When the vehicle is parked and the keys are out of the ignition, the silencing feature can easily be turned off.
Set Standards for All Drivers in Your Household
Your teen will be the first to notice if your driving habits do not match the advice you are giving out. Even seasoned drivers can fall victim to distracted driving. It is wise to discuss a family-wide standard of driving expectations and stick with them. Adults can use the “Do Not Disturb” feature, refrain from talking on the phone while driving, and let passengers use map apps to get directions. No matter what safety standards you choose, it’s important to maintain consistency.
Call The James Law Firm
Even with your best effort, vehicle accidents can still happen. If you’re a victim of a distracted driver and have been injured anywhere in Iowa, don’t hesitate to call us today at 515-246-8484. The James Law Firm has the experience, compassion, and knowledge needed to tackle even the most complex driving cases. We represent clients in Des Moines, Davenport/Quad Cities, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Sioux City, Council Bluffs, and more. We will travel to help you!