3 Tips to Ensure Your Teen is Not Distracted Driving

distracted driving crash

The month of October is the Distracted Driving Awareness month hosted by the National Safety Council. Typically, the awareness month is held in April, but due to COVID-19, it was postponed. This month is important but especially essential for you too, a parent of a newly driving teen.

These numbers are dangerous, and we, as parents, need to ensure that we are educating our teens about the dangers and giving them the proper tools to avoid distracted driving. 

38 percent of students who drove reported texting while driving on at least one day; 22 percent sometimes texted, and 16 percent frequently texted

American Academy of Family Physicians

Before you start educating your teen on distracted driving, let’s make sure we cover all of the bases! What exactly is distracted driving? As defined by the CDC (2019), “anything that takes your attention away from driving can be a distraction. Sending a text message, talking on a cell phone, using a navigation system, and eating while driving are a few examples of distracted driving. Any of these distractions can endanger the driver and others” (para. 7). Most people associate distracted driving with texting or making a phone call, but many more instances can occur. There are three types of distractions:

Visual meaning anything that takes your eyes off the road, manual being anything that requires you to take your hands off the steering wheel, and cognitive being anything that takes your mind off driving. Each of the types of distractions can be equally as dangerous. 

Educating your teen encompasses three main ideas: explaining the statistics, explaining the risks and consequences, and providing them with the foundation to avoid distracted driving. 

Explaining the statistics can be a huge eye-opener for your teen. Many have seen older siblings, friends, and even adults distracted driving, but do they have a clear understanding of the numbers? Here are three websites to help educate your teen more on the statistics of distracted driving, click the text to be directed to the Distracted Driving pages on each site:

Once your teen understands the statistics, it is vital to show them the consequences distracted driving can have on their lives and others’ lives. Distracted driving leads to expensive tickets, demerits from license, collisions, injury, and DEATH. Make it clear that the decision lies in your teen’s hands, and it is up to them to drive responsibly.

I feel the most critical aspect of it all as a parent is to lead by example. Ensure that you are practicing safe driving and not becoming distracted while behind the wheel. If your teen is having a hard time following the rules of distracted driving, consider the following:
  • Taking away driving privileges
  • Encourage your teen to put their phone on “Do Not Disturb” to avoid distractions from receiving notifications
  • Encourage your teen to make a pact with their friends to avoid distracted driving together

Each year, distracted driving takes the lives of over 2,500 people. If we as parents join together to educate our teens and leading by example, we can reduce these numbers. If you are looking for additional training for your teen on distracted driving and all of the eight danger zones, consider enrolling in the Coaching New Drivers program, which includes Danger Zone Training. Visit our homepage to learn more.

To learn more about the other eight danger zones, visit the Coaching New Drivers blog

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Distracted Driving. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/index.html

Devitt, M. (2018, September 28). Survey Finds One in Three U.S. Teens Texts While Driving. [Blog]. Retrieved from https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20180928textndrive.html

Coach Bill

Coach Bill

Bill is the Managing Partner of Coaching New Drivers and has a vast background in driver education. Bill is passionate about technology-based driver assessment and has gained extensive knowledge and experience through lecturing on driving topics across North America, Australia, and Asia. Bill is a parent to two teens who he has also successfully coached during the Learner’s permit stage.

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