Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes in the country, claiming roughly 3,500 lives every year. Despite stricter laws and publicity campaigns, it still occurs at an alarming rate.
Every driver is at risk for distraction in the car. Your GPS, a meal or a passenger can all take your eyes off the road. According to the CDC, cell phone use is the most dangerous form of distraction. When you send a text while driving 55 MPH, five seconds is the equivalent of covering the span of a football field. A lot can happen in those five seconds.
Teens are the most at risk
Despite continued efforts, a new survey finds that teens are still the most at-risk group to engage in this dangerous behavior. The researchers surveyed 101,000 teens and found that 40 percent of them had either texted or emailed while behind the wheel in the last 30 days.
Over the last decade, teens and young adults (those aged 16-24) have been involved in the highest proportion of distracted driving crashes. Researchers fear that the phone use behind the wheel could be much worse than the study shows. The survey only addressed texting and emailing, not the use of apps like Snapchat or Instagram.
Discourage the behavior
If you’re a parent of a driving teenager, there are ways you can discourage them from this type of behavior:
- Educate your teens about the risks and dangers or texting and driving.
- Install apps that won’t allow phone use while the car is in motion.
- Be a good role model-never use your phone while driving.
- Set firm rules around texting and driving with serious consequences.
- Offer monetary incentives for following the rules.
Florida lawmakers are pushing for tougher cell phone laws and are hopeful new legislation will pass in 2019 to make phone use while driving a primary offense. Let’s make sure we all put the phone down while driving and make our roads safer for everyone.