Talking with Teens About Texting and Driving
Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on September 28, 2016
For many Kentucky teens, their 16th birthday is the most coveted and special day of their future. This is the day where teens are legally eligible to take the permit test. This is a major step towards obtaining a driver’s license. The permit test consists of 40 questions. Thirty of these questions concern rules of the road and 10are about road signs. In order to pass, you must score an 80 percent or higher.
For parents or legal guardians, this day often comes with mild trepidation and the beginning of a 6-month journey to instruct an inexperienced young driver. On this day, or even leading up to the permit test, it’s very important to talk with your teenager about the rules of the road including how to avoid distracted driving.
Talking, texting and playing on the phone while driving is known to cause serious injuries and even fatalities on the roadways every single day. In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that more eight people are killed and a thousand people are injured every single day because of distracted driving. Distracted driving does not just include using a cell phone. It also includes using the radio, talking to a passenger, and being engaged in other activities while behind the wheel.
Almost all 50 states, including Kentucky and Indiana, have made it illegal to text and drive. As a parent or guardian, it is important to enforce this law and behavior for the safety of your teen driver. While it may be difficult to get the conversation started, having a brutally honest conversation about texting and driving with your teen could save his or her life and the lives of other drivers.
5 Ways to Get Your Teens to Stop Texting and Driving:
- Share Real Stories and Statistics: This honest conversation may need some reinforcement. Show your teenager images, videos and real life examples about the dangers of texting and driving. Many teens feel invincible, as though they are above these dangers just because they have never experienced an accident. Using real people and situations will help your teens understand the seriousness of this issue.
- Talk about How it Affects Other People: Let’s face it, most teenagers go through a little bit of a rebellious, selfish stage during this time of life. As a parent, you need to help your teens realize that their personal decisions have the ability to impact other people. If they decide to text and drive, they are not the only ones at risk. They are putting other drivers, passengers and pedestrians on the roadway at risk. The privilege to drive comes with responsibilities and consequences.
- Create Rules: It can be scary to let go of your young driver and allow them to set out on the open road. Make sure you establish rules from the beginning. Talk to them about turning off their phone while driving or even putting it in the trunk or the back seat out of sight and out of reach. Make sure they understand the golden rule of driving – do not use a cellphone and always wear a seatbelt. Keep reminding your teens of these rules every time they get behind the wheel.
- Establish Consequences: While texting and driving is illegal, it is difficult to enforce for every single driver. As a parent you are the one responsible for keeping your teens safe and away from the phone. Create rules and consequences to eliminate texting while driving. Taking away cell phones, car keys and/or other personal items to reinforce the golden rule may be necessary.
- Practice What You Preach: Your children look up to you beginning at a very young age. If you are trying to keep your children from texting and driving, you need to also abide by the rules. And this begins well before your children are teenagers. Your behavior and decisions have a powerful impact on your children and it is important to set good examples.
As a parent of a young teenage driver, it can feel like you have lost control of your child. This first major step towards freedom can be scary and difficult for parents. Always remember to have an honest conversation about texting and driving with your kids before allowing them to get behind the wheel. This discussion is one that should take place regularly and one that you should feel comfortable enforcing with consequences.
Injured in a Car Accident? Make Sure to Hire An Experienced Injury Law Firm
Distracted driving is very dangerous and it affects so many people every single day. As car accident attorneys with over 45 combined years of experience, we’ve seen the real dangers of distracted driving many times. And we’ve successfully defended the rights of car accident victims throughout the state of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. In the words of one of our clients…
“My son was in a car accident and I was recommended to Cooper & Friedman. I couldn’t have picked a better law firm to work with. They took their time explaining everything to me and my son regarding his case. They walked us through everything that was going to happen, step by step. They listened to our needs. Any time we had questions, we could call or email and immediately got a response. I would definitely recommend Cooper & Friedman law firm.” – Wendy J., Cooper & Friedman Client
If you or someone you love is ever the victim of distracted driving, get the legal help you need and deserve. For more information, including a free case consultation, call 502-459-7555 to speak with a car accident attorney. Our law firm has an A+ BBB rating. We are also members of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers.