When you taught your child to drive, chances are you didn’t even allow them to change up the music during their first few times behind the wheel. After weeks of practice and improvement, you didn’t hesitate when your child clicked on the radio to skip a few songs. That’s because you know safe driving habits take time to instill.
The reality is even the safest drivers can become distracted behind the wheel. So, teaching your teen safe driving habits, the law about texting and driving and the dangers of distracted driving are all crucial lessons as they begin to spend more time behind the wheel.
Your teenage child might not be giving the road their full attention after they’ve gotten their license. You can address this by letting them know just how deathly multitasking behind the wheel can be. In 2018 alone, nearly 3,000 people died in distracted driving crashes. And even if a car accident doesn’t result in death, there are other long-lasting, physical and emotional injuries that could result — from a traumatic brain injury to post traumatic stress disorder.
Texting and driving
As technology has progressed, texting and driving has almost become normalized. In fact, in a survey, 40% of teen drivers stated that they’ve been passengers in a car where a driver has used their phone in an unsafe manner.
Thankfully, the law has also caught up with the times, as last year’s passing of a new statute under the Wireless Communications While Driving Law aims to penalize motorists who text and drive. A first texting and driving offense warrants a $30 fine, while a second offense warrants a $60 fine and three points will go on your driving record. Racking up driving violations and points on your record can lead to larger problems, like having your driver’s license suspended.
These are some ways experienced and new drivers can diverge distractions on the road:
- Utilize hands-free technology like speaker phone or Bluetooth
- Let anyone you have an open text conversation with know how long you will be driving before you leave, so they don’t reach out during your commute
- Make playlists ahead of time to avoid trying to search for an artist or song while driving
Getting a call that your teenage child has been part of a fatal car accident is every parent’s nightmare. As warmer weather and summer break kick in, there will be more young drivers on the road. So, teaching your child to tuck away their phone can help them experience the privilege of driving for many years to come.