Distracted driving is a danger for everyone on the modern roads. Anywhere there is traffic, there is likely at least one person prone to distracted driving. Some groups of people are far more likely than others to admit that they use mobile devices at the wheel.
Teenage drivers, in particular, report high levels of phone use at the wheel. Roughly 38% of teenagers admitted to texting while driving in 2015, and the chances are good that the prevalence of such behavior has increased in recent years.
How could you help protect your teen driver from the constant threat of distracted driving?
Lead by example
The best way to convince your teenage driver that texting at the wheel is unacceptable is to consistently avoid distracted driving yourself. When you tell your young driver one thing but model a different behavior, they are unlikely to do as you say, not as you do.
If they believe that you text while driving, they will probably not think much of engaging in the same behaviors themselves. The sooner you make a point of showing that you don’t text while driving, the less likely your young adult is to internalize the idea that it is safe to text at the wheel.
Have an honest talk about the risks
Letting your teen out on the roads is frightening because they could get hurt or cause a crash that will traumatize them for life. Talking honestly about your concerns regarding distracted driving with your new driver could convince them to put safety first.
Imposing a penalty if they text while driving can help. Losing driving privileges because of distracted driving might be what it takes to keep your teen from picking up their phone.
Look into apps or other technological solutions
There are some vehicles that have built-in systems to help prevent texting while driving. There are also multiple phone apps that you can install to limit data usage at certain times or even alert you if your teen uses data or sends a text while traveling at high speeds. While such apps are not foolproof, they can be part of a broader accountability strategy that deters your teen driver from texting at the wheel.
As a parent, keeping your young driver safe is one of your most important goals, but it is also unfortunately an issue that you have little direct control over, as your teen will be the one whose decisions will ultimately increase or decrease their risk on the road.
Educating your new driver about the risks that come from texting as a wheel could help them avoid a car crash that could have catastrophic consequences.