In the United States, road-related accidents due to distracted driving leads to 9 deaths and 1,000 injuries daily. Just in 2016, this dangerous behavior resulted in over 3,450 fatalities.
You do not want you or your loved ones to be a victim of this type of accident. Certainly, you also do not want your teenager to be the distracted driver responsible for a car crash.
Unfortunately, a large percentage of fatal crashes linked to distracted driving involved drivers who are under the age of 20. Meanwhile, the number one cause of car crashes (around 60%) in this age group is a distracted teenage driver. Why is this case? What can you do to prevent your teenager from getting embroiled in this kind of accident?
Why Is Distracted Driving High in Teenagers?
Letís admit it, unlike adults, teenagers are inexperienced and still lacking in skills that would enable them to drive safely. Furthermore, many of them do not fully grasp that driving comes with great responsibility, that it is an activity which requires their undivided attention. Hence, they are more prone to engage in risky behaviors while driving like texting.
In fact, many teenagers think that sending electronic messages while they are behind the wheel is a benign behavior, one without any serious repercussions. One study even reported that around 42% of teenagers send texts while they drive.
What these teenagers do not realize is that combining these two activities – texting and driving – can endanger their lives and those around them. Reports show that the risk of crashing increases 23 times when a teenager is driving and texting at the same time. This is not surprising given that handling a mobile device, either to send texts or emails, causes drivers to become visually, manually and cognitively distracted. Their eyes are off the road and glued to the screen. Their hand is off the wheel and on their mobile device. Their mind is off driving and into constructing a message. Itís a total recipe for disaster!
How to Reduce Distracted Driving Incidents in Teenagers
Aware of the hazards of texting or handling a mobile device while driving, several states now have laws which prevent drivers from engaging in these risky behaviors. However, you canít simply rely on these laws to deter your teenager from checking his mobile device while sitting behind the wheel. You need to be proactive and take other measures to help your child ignore driving distractions. One good thing you can do is to enroll him in a driver education program.
On top of learning how to drive, a driver education course can teach your teenager about the perils of engaging in distracting activities while driving. It can make him realize the importance of being a responsible driver. One study showed that an educational intervention can reduce how much drivers text while driving.
The good thing is that, nowadays, taking this kind of course is not difficult. In fact, some organizations offer online driver education programs Ė complete with learning materials and quizzes or tests. This means that your child can have access to driving-related lessons wherever he is, whenever he wants to.
Just a word of caution though, do not just pick any company that offers driver education online. Choose a reputable one! Get a company that has driving courses which are approved by the DMV, Department of Education or State Court. More importantly, it should be able to furnish a Certificate of Completion once the learner is done with the course.
It can be heart-wrenching to have a child involved in a distracted driving incident. Spare yourself and your teenager from the pain of being in this situation. Talk to him about the laws on and risks of distracted driving. Set a good example. Remember, a lot of teenagers learn how to drive from watching their parents. Lastly, enroll your child in an online driver education course.
Looking for an online driver education course? We have a program that can help your teenager learn how to drive and avoid distracted driving. Visit our website today!
Image Credits: Driver Education from wellphoto /Shutterstock