There has been a dramatic increase in distracted driving related accidents in the United States because of phone and other electronic device usage — particularly among teenage drivers. This epidemic has drastically increased automobile accident rates and, unfortunately, the number of vehicular injuries and deaths.
Distracted driving is an important issue we all have a stake in.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nhtsa.gov, distracted driving is “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety.”
Activities that contribute to distracted driving include phone use:
- using any application
- adjusting car or radio settings
- anything else that could impair a driver’s focus
Distracted drivers kill more than eight people and injure 1,161 every day. Teen drivers are particularly at risk for driving while distracted.
According to CDC research, “31% of U.S. drivers ages 18-64 reported that they had read or sent text messages or email messages while driving at least once within the 30 days before they were surveyed.” In the same study, 69% of those surveyed admitted to talking on the phone while driving.
Educating teens and helping them understand these potentially deadly distracted driving risks is crucial for their safety and the safety of those around them.
These tips can help prevent teen distracted driving:
- Education —Use resources such as nhtsa.gov and others to educate teens about dangers through real-life stories that detail the damage distracted drivers can do. Agree to avoid distracted driving by signing the Distracted Driving Pledge with the teen drivers in your life. Educate them about your state’s distracted driving laws and remind them that heavier restrictions are likely in many places.
- Anti-distraction rules — Utilize anti-distraction rules including turning off cell phones and other electronic devices before starting the ignition, not allowing friends to ride in your teen’s car, and other driving mandates that can help instill good driving habits. Encourage your teen to pull over and stop the car if he or she must answer a call.
- Model good behavior — Adults can be just as guilty of driving distracted. Model good behavior and avoid distracted driving yourself. Pull over if you must talk on the phone or answer a question. Abide by your own distracted driving rules alongside your teen.
- App solutions — If your teen continues to have trouble avoiding these distractions, consider downloading an application to block calls and text messages while driving. Some apps can even send parents or guardians notifications regarding unsafe driving. These apps can help keep teens from using their phones while driving, thus keeping them focused on driving. DMV.org offers safe driving app comparisons to help you decide which is best for your family.
Because of the prevalence of distracted driving in the United States, it’s crucial to carry proper insurance in case of an accident. Carrying adequate and affordable auto insurance can help you replace vehicles if an accident occurs as well as act as a supplemental health insurance plan if necessary.