In recent years, distracted driving has become an epidemic. In 2014 alone, 3,179 people were killed by distracted driving, and that number continues to increase. Teenagers are especially at risk. With the advent of smartphones and social media, teens feel pressure to stay connected at all times. According to the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan, 25% of teen drivers respond to a text at least once every time they get behind the wheel. That’s a scary statistic for North Carolina parents.
So how do you speak with your child about distracted driving? Distraction.gov suggests taking these three steps to help your teenager develop good driving habits that will keep them safe while out of on the road.
- Have the Talk—Discuss with your teen what it means to be a safe driver and set ground rules for when they’re behind the wheel. For example, if the keys are in the ignition, the phone is put away.
- Make a Family Pledge—Have everyone in your family sign a pledge to being distraction-free while driving. Set a positive example by placing your cell phone in the glove compartment every time you drive.
- Know the Laws in Your State—Many states have Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws that include cell phone and texting bans for young drivers. Remind your teen driver that there could be serious consequences for violating these laws – including a delayed or suspended license.
Learn more about how to talk with your teens about the dangers of distracted driving at www.distraction.gov.