Cell Phone Use and Driving
As a parent, you know one of the most dangerous and tempting distractions to teen drivers are cell phones. But did you know that talking and texting while behind the wheel can be deadly? About 1.2 million car crashes in 2013 involved drivers talking on phones, according to the National Safety Council, and at least 341,000 involved text messaging – and that was FOUR YEARS ago!
Consider these other important texting and driving facts when discussing this crash risk with your new teen driver:
- Teens have the reaction time of a 70-year-old when distracted while driving.
- Crash risk is four times higher when a driver uses a cell phone, whether or not it’s hands-free.
- Many states have instituted a ban on driver hand-held cell phone use (both talking and texting).
- According to recent CIRP@CHOP research, teen drivers receive the most calls from their parents, more than general calling patterns would suggest.
- According to other recent CIRP@CHOP research, even though teens recognize that talking or texting on a cell phone or using social media apps while driving is unsafe, they often engage in these behaviors while driving.
BE A ROLE MODEL! What Parents Can Do
Parents need to model safe driving behaviors by not using their cell phones while driving (including at stoplights) and to set a zero tolerance policy for their teens’ cell phone use while driving. They should help their teens by giving them safe alternatives to talking or texting while driving like:
- Complete any call or text before starting the car.
- Get directions and try to visualize the destination before turning the key.
- Check in with friends or parents only after arrival.
- Pull over for urgent calls.