It's no secret that teens text and drive. Everyone knows that teen drivers cause more accidents than any other age group. But did you know that over 20,000 ttens have died in car accidents over the past 3 1/2 years and more than 300,000 have been seriously injured? Teen drivers are notorious for risky driving behaviors, especially texting and driving, but YOU can help make sure the teen drivers in your life don't become part of the statistics! Here are the top 4 ways to stop your teen driver from texting and driving.
1. Lead By Example! When kids are young, they'll listen to the "do as I say not as I do" argument, but the older they get the lass that works. Teen drivers learn to drive like those they are riding with and often pick up the same bad driving behaviors as their parents or other role models. Make sure you always practice what you preach when you've got a teen in the car (and even when you don't). If you're texting and driving, teens will think it's okay if they do too. If you're talking on your phone while speeding, expect the same behavior from your teen driver. Be consistent with your good driving every time you get in the car and set a good example!
2. Make Your Teen Driver Commit - In Writing - To Being A Text Free Driver. Teens that sign a committment to remaining text-free while driving have fewer texting accidents. Simply saying they won't do it isn't enough. You telling them not to do it isn't enough. Teens need to sign their name on the dotted line and physically commit to putting down the cell phone every time they get in their car. A recent study by the Lehigh Valley Health Network showed that even 4 months after teens participated in a text-free driving campaign at their schools and signed a pledge to be a text-free driver, there was a 74% drop in texting and driving! To have a texting and driving pledge emailed to you to use with your teen driver, click the button below now!
3. Constant Reminders Are A Must! Putting a cell phone away when you get in your car is a habit that must be formed, and like all habits, this one needs to be reinforced until it becomes second nature. There are a lot of ways to remind your teen to do the right thing without them feeling like you're constantly getting on their case. Here are a few that you can try:
Leave a sticky note attached to a $5 bill on their drivers seat with the note saying "Being a text free driver pays! Be safe and stop for some lunch while you're out."
Wearable reminders: "TXTNG KILLS" thumb bands are one example of a reminder your teen will wear and see every time they reach for their cell phone. The message is very clear and reinforces the talks you've had about the danger of texting and driving.
4. Be Serious About The Consequences For Breaking The Rules. Texting and driving puts your teen driver at serious risk of injuries or even death, the punishment should be every bit as serious. Make sure your teen driver knows there are NO second chances. The first offense should be met with a consequence that will make them think twice about EVER making the same mistake again. Take away their driving privileges for a month. Ground them for 3 months. Whatever it is, make it swift and severe so they know you mean business!
Communication and involvement are important throughout a teen's first few years of driving. Statistically, 58% of teens crash during their first 12 months of driving and more than 2/3rds have an accident before their 21st birthday. Keeping your teen from texting and driving is an important step to help reduce those numbers.