Parents have a lot of reasons to worry about teenagers and cars. The CDC reports that, in 2011 alone, over 2,600 teens ages 16-19 died and close to 300,000 required emergency room treatment because of motor vehicle accidents.
One factor that increases the risk of crashes is when teens drive with other teens as passengers (but with no supervising adult present). As a group, they also tend towards impulsiveness. On top of that, there’s also the risk posed by distractions, especially mobile devices.
Texting while driving is potentially deadly, but many people, teens included, don’t realize this. They overestimate their ability to multitask on the road and react quickly to unexpected events even when they’re looking at, handling, and thinking about the contents of a mobile device.
As you consider how to stop your teen from texting while driving, the following five tips may help:
Use Emotional Shock
Statistics and bare facts can sound dry (even if you tell them that distracted driving, as reported by the CDC, kills thousands and injures hundreds of thousands every year). They might think that these abstract numbers don’t apply to them. So it’s important to shock them emotionally by showing them the very human side of the tragedy.
For example, have them watch the half-hour Werner Herzog film, From One Second to the Next. In the film, drivers who killed people while texting share their stories and the profound guilt they must live with the rest of their lives; also in the film: family members coping with the death or extreme disability of loved ones struck by drivers who texted while driving. Another short documentary, The Last Text, shows more tragic stories and some of the final text messages people sent before horrific accidents (messages like “LOL”).
Use A Teen Texting Simulator
Teens who think they can handle texting while often driving get a shock when using a simulator that shows them what even a couple of seconds of distraction can cost them. There are teen teen texting simulators online; they’re also sometimes available at public events, usually sponsored by companies (AT&T) or public safety groups (as the one filmed by a Manitoba insurance company here).
Stop Teen Texting By Example
Your kids will model their behavior after yours. Even as a more experienced driver, you still make yourself and other people on the road less safe when you text or engage in other distracting behaviors. Your kids won’t take your warnings seriously if they see you texting. Lead by example.
Lay down firm rules against texting and other non-emergency mobile device use while driving and enforce the rules with consequences. For example, you can suspend driving privileges or levy “fines” (of whatever amount you think is reasonable) if you catch your teen texting.
Supervise and talk to your kids
Be sure to have in-depth discussions with your kids about teen texting starting from before they reach the age when they’re eligible for a learner’s permit. And, even after they get their license, take time to ride with them as their passenger and observe their road behavior. This trend is no joke and it’s killed plenty of people. Please make a point to bring this subject up with you kids.
So What’s the Law About Texting In Delaware?
- Texting is prohibited for all drives
- Listening to you phone by placing it to your ear is also prohibited
- Hands free technology is full allowed
- Teenagers with driving permits are banned from any cell phone use.
- The first fine is $106 bucks. Fines are higher ($300) with second and third offenses. BEWARE
Have you caught your teen texting while driving? How did you handle the situation? What did you do to teach you teenager about the dangers of texting while driving their car. Reply below.