Posted by andrewt
In the majority of accidents involving teenage drivers, distracted driving is a contributing factor. Most parents of teenage drivers are concerned about texting and driving and rightly so.Â Of all driving distractions, texting is among the most hazardous.Â The risk of collision is actually increased by more than 20 times, when texting whilst driving, according to research by the American Automobile Associated.
Solutions used by parents to combat texting and driving fall into two broad categories: active solutions and educational solutions.
The solutions used by parents are most effective when they are based on a frank and and honest assessment of the maturity of their teenage driver and their self-discipline behind the wheel when faced with distracted driving temptations.
These solutions are not mutually exclusive however. The most effective of all texting and driving solutions and the ones that are believed to be most successful at protecting inexperienced drivers are the ones that combine education with active enforcement.
How to identify the risks and potential consequences of distracted driving is the basis of educational solutions.
Educational-based approaches work best when used in conjunction with offering practical tips for teenagers that should also include lessons they can draw from when behind the wheel.
Teenage drivers will inevitably hear many strict warnings about texting and driving from sources such their driving instructor, teachers and public service announcements, but it is usually the parents of the teenage driver that will prove to be the most influential educators on this and any other topic.
It is useful to fill in the gaps in their distracted driving knowledge to help them avoid texting and driving accidents.
You should offer guidance addressing specific situations. This is especially appropriate where new drivers may have a false sense of safety, or just think that the rules donâ€™t apply to them.
This guidance should include:
â€¢ Donâ€™t get into a car with a friend who texts and drives: Many studies have demonstrated that texting and driving is as impairing as driving drunk. Teenagers should be told to view riding in a car with a texting driver with equal seriousness that they would treat riding with a drunk driver.
â€¢ Donâ€™t try to text at a give way sign or when stopped at red traffic lights: Many teenagers may think itâ€™s safe to text when they are stationary but you should emphasise that this is not acceptable and it is still an offence. Even though their car may not be moving, a driver stopped at traffic lights or give way signs must be paying full attention to the road as they prepare to enter an intersection. Of course, if a red light turns green while they are is texting, then there is always the temptation to finish that text, which means that they will either be texting while driving at speed or else they wonâ€™t set off and will delay the traffic behind them.
â€¢ Donâ€™t text while driving in a car park: A car parkâ€™s low speed may well lull inexperienced drivers into a sense of false security about the risks of distracted driving at that location. Teenagers should be made to understand that operating a vehicle in any way while texting is inherently unsafe. Car park accidents are actually quite common and they can have severe consequences if a pedestrian is involved.
The crucial thing for teenagers to realise is that texting and driving is â€œunsafe at any speedâ€ and before they ever text or make a call, they must park their vehicle in a safe place and turn off the engine.
Active verification and enforcement is the second solution.
Some parents feel most comfortable using solutions in this category as they do not rely on teenagers complying voluntarily.
Parents can take a â€˜low techâ€™ approach to verifying safety and active enforcement by checking their teenagerâ€™s phone to see whether they have been texting during the times that correspond with them driving.
Imposing a rule requiring that their mobile phone is turned off when they are driving is another strategy that can be used. Their compliance can then be established by just calling their teenagerâ€™s phone. Should it ring rather than go straight to voicemail, then the phone hasnâ€™t been switched off.
This kind of approach, however, does place high demands on the parents and unfortunately, it also isnâ€™t totally foolproof. We all know how determined teenagers can be and they do find ways to circumvent these rules.
The most thoroughly effective solution is undoubtedly to use distracted driving prevention technology to enforce the rules for you.
A technology-based distracted driving prevention tool is sophisticated enough to block the phone of the driver without impacting the passengerâ€™s phones, (or the driverâ€™s ability to call 999 in an emergency).
Some systems will even allow parents to monitor the performance of the driver, thereby helping them to understand those aspects of their teenager’s driving skills that still need some work.
Cellcontrol helps teenagers develop safe driving habits, and it gives parents unprecedented peace of mind.
Learn more about Cellcontrol and whether itâ€™s the right distracted driving solution for your teenager.