There’s no doubt that distracted driving is an epidemic on our roadways. From texting to eating on the go, distracted driving – no matter which form it takes on – can cause car accident injury and even death. And while most parents strive to teach teens the importance of roadway safety, a new study says some parents are to blame for their teen’s distracted driving including texting from behind-the-wheel.
It’s a classic case of “do what I say, not what I do.”
Liberty Mutual and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) together studied distracted driving patterns for teens and parents. The study revealed that parents who practiced unsafe driving habits like texting and driving, or talking on the phone, had teens that also practiced the same bad habits behind-the-wheel. Teens were up front about their parents’ bad driving habits, and admitted they tended to pick up on those behaviors when driving alone.
The study showed that nearly two-thirds of teen drivers believed their parents had bad driving habits. Even more alarming, teens said their parents engaged in texting, speeding, and even driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And while teens acknowledged their parents’ bad judgment, they also admitted to engaging in the exact same behaviors.
Nearly 91 percent of teens witnessed their parents talking on their cell phone, and 90 percent admitted to doing it themselves. When it comes to texting and driving, nearly 59 percent of parents were caught doing it and 78 percent of teens admitted they had done it, too, once they saw their parents engage in the behavior.
Sadly, 20 percent of teens witnessed their parents drive drunk, and 15 percent admitted to doing it as well.
Parent checklist for safe driving
When it comes to distracted driving, the power is in your hands. If you’re a parent concerned about your teen’s driving, here’s what you can do. And teens: if you’ve seen your parents engage in any distracted driving – from cell phone use to texting and beyond – now is the time to voice your concerns. If we want to keep our roadways safe, we’ve got to band together and take action now. Consider the following safety tips:
Get a “safe driving” app
There are several free and low-cost phone apps that can help you build safer driving habits. Some apps can prevent incoming texts from downloading until the vehicle is stopped. That way, the temptation to read the text is eliminated. Get the app for yourself and your teen today.
Use a parent-teen driving contract
A few rules can go a long way. When the expectations are set for your teen, the risk for distracted driving can be reduced – especially when there are consequences for the behavior. When writing the contract, let your teen have a voice, too, and if s/he requires rules for your driving, then write it into the contract as well. Let your example lead the way.
Declutter your car
Radios, GPS, CDs, iPods, in-dash navigation… they can all lead to a deadly car accident, especially when these technologies are combined and used simultaneously while driving. Declutter your car and avoid using more than one or two devices at a time. Show your teen what matters most: eyes on the road, focused on driving.
Distraction beyond the cell phone
Most drivers are well-aware that cell phone use and texting while driving is dangerous. If you don’t use your cell phone while driving, we congratulate you for making our roads a safer place. Take your safety efforts a step further and eliminate common distractions like eating food, applying makeup, or checking emails. Let it wait – the life of you and your teen may depend on it.
Take the Million Pledge Mission
Be a part of the change! Sign our Million Pledge Mission today and commit to being a no-text driver. Sign the pledge now, and get your teen on board, too. And teens: if your parents text and drive, send them the pledge and let them know you want our roads to be a safer place. One at a time, we can make a difference.
Guest Post By: LAW OFFICES OF MICHAEL PINES, APC (Central Office)
4660 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite 1030
San Diego, California 92122