The new school year is officially underway, and thousands of teenagers are enjoying the freedom of driving themselves to and from school, sports, and other activities. Many of them are also glued to their mobile devices, waiting for that text from a crush or a friend to arrive. However, for teenage drivers, in particular, it’s crucial to remember how dangerous texting while driving can be. Every year, texting and driving (also known as “distracted driving”) causes numerous accidents that could otherwise have been avoided. Many of these automobile incidents have even resulted in one, or in some cases, multiple fatalities.
Numbers Never Lie:
Car accidents are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., and in general, being on the road carries a heavy potential for danger if traffic laws are not properly followed. Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. are involved in road accidents each year. However, of these, 64 percent (1.6 million) have a cell phone involved in them. It’s clear that driving while using a cell phone strongly increases the chance of getting in an accident. In fact, about 421,000 people are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver each year, with over 330,000 of these classified as serious injuries.
When it comes to texting and driving specifically, statistics show that the activity is much more dangerous and more prevalent than most people think. One out of every four car accidents in the U.S. is caused by texting while driving. This is because distracted driving is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving. Texting while driving increases the chances of getting into a crash for any reason by 23 times.
Teenage Texting While Driving:
Unfortunately, teenagers often become the victims of distracted driving for several reasons. They are part of a generation that is more active on mobile phones in general. Furthermore, teenagers’ brains and reflexes have still not fully developed, and they don’t have enough experience on the road to operate a motor vehicle safely while dealing with multiple distractions, such as texting.
As a result, 11 teenagers die every day because of texting while driving. This number constitutes 21% of fatal accidents involving teenagers every year, and it’s so high because teenagers are four times more likely to crash while texting and driving than adults are. Even more frustratingly, 94 percent of teenagers say that they understand the consequences of texting and driving, but 35 of them still do it.
How Can I Address This Issue?
So what can parents do to be proactive in preventing their teen from texting while driving? First, have a conversation with them and be direct about the immense responsibilities that come along with possessing a drivers’ license, as well as the serious consequences that texting and driving could carry. Then, come up with a system: for example, they leave their phone in the backseat when they drive so they are not tempted to check their text messages. For those who may still be tempted to reach for their phone when they hear a message alert, turning the phone off completely while driving would be a preferred method. Depending on the maturity level of the teen, a parent may even want to consider requiring them to store their phone in the car’s truck or another lockable compartment to minimize the temptation of even glancing at their phone.
Taking your eyes off of the road for mere seconds while driving could mean the difference between a safe journey and a preventable tragedy. Always remember, NO text is worth a life!
We hope that all parents of licensed drivers explain the severity of texting while driving to their teen, as well as heeding the same advice themselves. If you found the above article helpful, we encourage you to check out more just like it on the Northeast Insurance Facebook Page!