Lately, I've been seeing more teens texting while driving in my town, and many of these young people are not that much older than my son, who's turning 10 soon. Eventually, my son will also get those car keys.
It's a scary thought.
It's especially scary given the fact that 1.5 million teens and adults were in some kind of accident driving while "intexticated" -- texting that last precious "LOL" or "TTYL." According to this website, it takes just five seconds for one's attention to be diverted from the road. Five seconds.
The statistics don't lie: teenagers are clueless to the idea of how dangerous texting can be while driving.
Introduce Adult Mentors
When a teenager gets a driver's license for the first time, the last thing he/she wants is to share this new experience with his/her parent. However, along those lines, maybe all teen drivers should have an adult driver coach them not to drive using cellular devices.
A while back, one of my online students suggested teenagers be educated by a mentor who's a bit older and wiser and can really impart the severe message of texting while driving. She even went as far as to suggest the importance of having a mentor who was injured in an accident to talk about these dangers. She also suggested having teenagers first look at videos or photos of recent accidents of teens dying in car crashes from sending or reading a text, will might scare them to be better drivers.
Would I want my son to look at such pictures? If it will sensitize him to the dangers of texting and driving, I might.
Have Conversations At Home Before Getting Behind the Wheel
It's a crazy world out there on the road, and having a heart-to-heart conversation with a parent or caregiver about the serious dangers of texting and driving should happen way before getting behind the wheel. Having these conversations might shatter any previous thoughts about texting and driving as teenagers might think they know it all.
Courtney Van Winkle, Partner of Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen, writes:
A recent statistic showed that 77% of teens were confident that they could safely text and drive -- but the reality is that texting while driving is more dangerous than driving while intoxicated, and causes 11 teen deaths every day. As a personal injury attorney, far too often I see the tragic consequences of texting while driving. The majority of my cases involved a distracted driver. As a mother of four, I know that stopping this national epidemic of texting while driving starts at home -- talking to my children and setting a good example.
Unfortunately, these statistics don't lie.
How Responsible Are Teenage Drivers?
Many adults, especially those who are parents, have one question: How responsible are teenagers behind the wheel, really? According to AAP General News Wire (2005), a youth group argued that "a NSW proposal to ban teenagers form getting their licenses until they were 18 punished the majority of responsible drivers for the action of a few."
Having such a ban passed may create strong dissent towards parents who think otherwise of their soon-to-be driving teens. Some parents feel their teenage children are responsible enough to pursue a driver's permit for many reasons. For starters, parents may not be fortunate to drive their teens to school, because of the parents' work schedule; teens may have school activities with sports and some teens have jobs while their parents are at their job location.
According to AAP General News Wire (2005), executive officer Kristy Delaney from the Youth Action and Policy Association (YAPA) said the plan was impractical and would limit educational and employment opportunities for young people. Teens are in fact, a high percentage of our fast food workers, groceries and shopping department clerks. eens need to acquire the values of discipline and learning that teach how to be responsible adults in their future.
The dangers of texting and driving are real. A conscientious teenager who is only to eager to get behind the wheel, may find himself against the real dangers of many other teenagers who text and drive. If all teenagers thought twice before texting, by far, fewer road accidents would occur daily.