When it comes to distracted driving, young people are among the most likely to text and talk behind the wheel. 16% of all distracted driving crashes involved drivers under 20, according to OSHA.gov.
Texting while driving is unsafe under any circumstances. In fact, some research suggests that texting while driving is more than 20 times as dangerous as driving alone.
Texting while driving is a recent growing trend among teenaged drivers. Distracted driving has always been a problem—fiddling with the radio, eating, my sister liked using this time to put on her makeup—but texting seems to be the worse offense. Everyone has a cell phone. Everyone wants to stay connected and up to date on everything and everyone.
As a parent, there isn’t really any guidelines to follow to teach your child that texting while driving is dangerous and unacceptable. Technology is changing so fast, and the rules are not catching up to it.
The Mayo Clinic has a few tips for parents to teach their kids the responsibility of having a cell phone and having the keys to the car.
Start by talking to your teen about the consequences of texting while driving, such as potentially serious — or even deadly — accidents. Talking isn’t enough, though.
Set clear rules and consequences about texting and driving. Explain that texting while driving isn’t allowed under any circumstances — and that driving and phone privileges will be revoked if your teen texts while driving.
Remind your teen that texting while driving is illegal in many states.
To help your teen resist temptation while driving, you might suggest storing the phone out of easy reach in the car — such as in the glove compartment or tucked away in a purse or bag. Also consider apps or other safety features that disable texting while driving.
Talk to your kids. As much as they’re independent and think they’re cooler than you, if you talk to them like adults, they will listen.
When I was a teenager, my parents would always sit me down and talk to me. They wouldn’t start arguments with me, but rather ask me why I think they would enforce a rule. By having a conversation, I wasn’t turned off by it. I may have only had a slight grasp the enormity of some of my decisions, but they taught me to think responsibly. I ended up just fine, and probably better off because of our conversations. I plan on doing the same when I have kids of my own.
Try it, you might be pleasantly surprised.