In 2016, almost 3,500 people were killed because of distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also notes that teens are more often to blame for distracted driving than other age groups.
While many campaigns to end distracted driving focus on cell phone use, an AAA study indicates that cell phones are not the only distractions for teen drivers. Attending to something in the vehicle or attending to passengers were also popular distractions.
Help your teen understand distracted driving
If you have a teenage child, it is important to talk to him or her about distracted driving. Explain the serious consequences of distracted driving, which can include serious injuries, fines, increased insurance rates and death, among others.
You can also explain that there are three types of distractions, including:
- Visual distractions, such as looking for items in the car, adjusting the vehicle's controls or even enjoying the scenery.
- Manual distractions, such as eating, drinking or digging around in a purse or wallet.
- Cognitive distractions, such as talking to passengers, daydreaming or browsing the internet.
While there are plenty of distractions beyond cell phone use, texting and driving is particularly dangerous because it is a visual, manual and cognitive distraction. It is also illegal in Texas and many other states.
When you talk with your teen, you can also help him or her establish a plan to avoid distracted driving. This plan can involve contemplating scenarios when it may be appropriate to pull over to complete a task, such as adjusting a GPS device or checking an urgent text message. It can also include preventative measures such as your teen texting friends before getting in the car to let them know he or she will be out of touch while driving.
Distracted drivers are a danger to everyone on the road, and teenagers seem to be especially prone to this habit. This is why it is important to talk to your teen early and help encourage safe driving habits instead.