Teen Drivers and Texting: Encourage Your Teen to be Safe Behind the Wheel
Although they represent only 14 percent of the U.S. population, teen drivers account for approximately 30 percent of all motor vehicle injuries. Their increased risk is due, in part, to inexperience. However, recent studies suggest that distracted driving (particularly cell phone use) is a major contributing factor in nearly 60 percent of all teen car accidents. As such, it is critical that parents encourage their teens to use safe driving practices whenever they are behind the wheel.
Cell Phone Use and Driving in Teens
Crash risks for all drivers are four times higher when using a cellular device, even if that device is wireless. This is increasingly concerning among teen drivers who, according to Teen Driver Source, have the same reaction time as a 70-year-old adult if they are driving while distracted. Of course, most teens are aware of the dangers—they hear about them at school, and from their parents, after all. Yet studies from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicate that cellular use is a contributing factor in at least 12 percent of teen accidents.
Of equal concern is that, according to research from CIRP@CHOP, teen drivers are receiving the majority of their calls and texts from their parents. Clearly, this indicates that parents do have influence, which begs to question where the disconnection is coming from. Experts believe it may be due, in part, to a failure in role modeling safe driving behaviors ourselves and a lack of ground rules that clearly communicate zero tolerance for cellular use while behind the wheel.
Creating a Zero Tolerance Policy
The first step in implementing a zero tolerance policy is to follow it yourself. That means you, as a parent, must always model the behaviors you want to see in your teen. This can be understandably difficult at times, particularly when hectic work or home lives try to take over, but it is critical for your teen to see using safe driving practices as well. Tips for managing cell phone use in teens include:
- Ending all calls before starting the car;
- Getting directions to the destination prior to starting the car;
- Checking in with friends or parents only after arriving at the destination and turning the car off; and
- Pulling over if an urgent call comes in.
Teen Driver Accident? Seek Experienced Legal Assistance
Because they are less skilled in handling emergent situations, even non-distracted teens are at a higher risk for experiencing an accident. If one happens to yours, it is imperative that you seek qualified and experienced legal counsel to ensure their rights are protected and that the insurance company does not attempt to use their age and lack of experience against them to settle for a lower compensation award.
The experienced attorneys of Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. have extensive experience handling automobile accident cases in the Appleton, Green Bay, New London, and Oshkosh areas. We work closely with you to ensure all aspects of the accident are carefully examined, and that both short- and long-term implications are considered. To find out more, schedule your free initial consultation with our Appleton automobile accident attorneys or Green Bay automobile accident attorneys. Call 920-739-7366 today.