If you’re raising a teenager, you know how important their phone is to them. They’re always on it, and it can be tough to peel them away from their screens. When they start driving, though, teen texting and driving will be an issue that you will need to address. While this may seem like a challenge, it is possible to educate yours in ways that are impactful and meaningful.
Approaching this issue in the right way is crucial to getting through to your teenager. When done in the right way, it presents an opportunity to mold your son or daughter into a responsible, conscious driver. This has countless benefits for them, you, and all the other drivers on the road. Here are five tips to prevent your teen from texting and driving:
1. Talk About Teen Texting and Driving
As with most teen issues, communication can do wonders. Your teenager might be willing and possibly even eager to discuss texting and driving. They probably have more personal experience with the subject than you, because many parents didn’t grow up with cell phones. They may have friends or classmates who have already been affected by teenage texting and driving accidents.
What they might not know are the more “real-world” consequences of distracted driving. Issues like raised insurance rates, costs of a ticket, and texting and driving laws might be foreign to them. These are ideas you can explain so they grasp the full picture of how texting and driving affects everyone around them.
These types of talks can create a bonding point and can help both sides see the reality from both a younger and an adult perspective. Try and have these talks early — the sooner, the better. Later on, simple reminders as they head out on a Friday night can reinforce awareness of the risks you’ve already discussed.
2. Set an Example
Adults also shouldn’t be texting and driving, but if you have children or teenagers, be especially mindful that you’re not texting and driving in front of them.
Teenagers often learn by copying and mimicking. They will do what you do. Also, if they see that you’re doing exactly what you tell them not to, they will see right through to the unfairness of that. It will be hard to explain if they ask, “Why can you do that, but I can’t?”
Be mindful of when you text them. If you know that your child will be out driving, try to avoid texting them while they’re on the road. These small practices add up and create an overall environment of safety for your entire household.
3. Cite Statistics
While it may seem like your teen is aloof and disconnected, their generation is actually highly concerned about community. They are a globally-minded, group-focused generation. That’s why they’re texting all the time — to stay connected with their peers. Talk about how distracted driving accidents can impact their whole neighborhoods, schools, and communities. This will resonate with them much more than focusing on how it affects only them personally.
Use these types of texting and driving statistics to illustrate how widespread the problem is:
- 40% of teen drivers said they have been in a vehicle when the driver used a cell phone in a way that caused a car accident
- Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause a car accident than drunk driving
- 4,637 people died in car crashes in 2018 due to cell phone use
- Cell phone use while driving caused an estimated 1.5 million car crashes in the U.S. in 2017
- Insurance penalties for distracted driving have grown by nearly 8,000% since 2012
- 14% of fatal crashes involve the use of cell phones while driving
Texting and driving isn’t just an individual problem; it’s a social one and a communal one. A single car accident can affect entire families and groups of friends. This is what will hit home with your teenagers.
4. Set Consequences — and Enforce Them
Driving is a privilege, not a right. Teenagers need to understand that the right to drive can be taken away if needed, either by the law or by you.
In the event that they are caught in the act, consequences you can impose include:
- Take away their car keys for a while
- If they (fortunately) only got a ticket, or if their insurance has gone up as a result, have them pay for it or take it out of their allowance.
- Confiscate their phone, especially while in the car or driving
Connecticut distracted driving laws impose a $125 fine for a first-time ticket; a second ticket costs $250. Again, these are consequences that a young driver might not be aware of, so communication is key to instilling safe driving habits.
5. Limit Texting While Driving Through Apps
There are also tech-based options for shutting off text. These apps typically work by shutting off texting capabilities during driving or at certain speeds.
Apps are a “band-aid fix” but not really a thorough solution to the root of the problem: teen texting and driving is a behavioral issue. It falls under the general category of distracted driving, which includes actions like putting on makeup while driving or reaching in the backseat for a jacket. It also includes looking at a passenger’s phone while driving (another dangerous behavior).
When a person has a habit of driving while unfocused, many different items can pull their eyes off the road. If it’s not the phone, it’ll be another distraction. The best way is to form good driving habits and awareness early on. That being said, text limiting apps can still be highly valuable for removing the temptation to engage in texting and driving.
Distracted Driving Affects the Lives of Many
Today’s younger drivers are highly intelligent, more tech-savvy than ever, and are conscious about how their actions affect larger groups. Start them off young and they might even become advocates and spokespersons one day for driving safety and awareness.
Youths often have to deal with the devastating effects of texting and driving at an early age. These types of accidents can be catastrophic, traumatizing, and in many cases, fatal. At The Flood Law Firm, we understand how important it is to minimize accident and injury risks as much as possible.
Why Choose The Flood Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been affected by a texting and driving accident, we’re here to help you get justice. The attorneys at The Flood Law Firm have more than 30 years of combined experience in over 150 jury trials involving accidents and injuries. We work tirelessly to help our clients get the compensation they are owed.
Our dedicated lawyers are on hand to listen to the details of your case. Get in touch with us at any time at (877) 987-9529 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.