It is so important for safety that teens don’t text and drive. Of course, actions speak louder than words, so we must begin to educate our teens by not texting and driving ourselves. That is probably not enough alone. We need to talk to our teens about texting and driving and they need to understand that we are serious and consequences will follow their actions. There are some tools and methods you can use that will stop your teenagers from texting while driving and that may, in the end, safe their lives.
I suggest educating your teens to the dangers of texting and driving as a starting point. Defensive driving is important and they can’t do it if they aren’t aware of their surroundings. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2010, more than 3,000 people were killed and an additional 416,000 were injured due to distracted driving, which includes texting while driving.
According to a new, national survey conducted by the Ad Council, thirty-four percent teen of respondents said that they never text while driving. What about the other 66% of teens? That means 66% of teens surveyed are engaging in at least occasional texting while driving. So if you think your child doesn’t text while driving, it is worth a talk to make sure that they don’t!
Once your teen understands the dangers of texting and driving make sure they understand the consequences too. A few seconds of carelessness could have a devastating impact on their life and the lives of others. Texting while driving not only jeopardizes the safety of themselves and others, but it can also violate state motor vehicle laws and result in hefty fines or loss of driving privileges.
Want to take it a step beyond talking? Well, there is a new public service advertisement on YouTube featuring scenes from season three of Fox’s award-winning television series “Glee” to educate young adult drivers on the dangers of texting while driving. It may be the visual aid you are looking for to demonstrate to overconfident young adult drivers that it is not safe to text while driving.
Have that talk and make sure your teen gets where he or she is going!
How do you stop teenagers from texting while driving? Sure, you can and should talk to them about the risks, but when you’re 16 or 17, you feel like you’re immortal. Simply knowing that there are risks isn’t enough deterrent for many kids. It is always nice to have the talk and then have the follow up safety measures too! Try these tools to stop teens from texting and driving.
Prevention apps. There are apps that prevent teens from texting while driving! They use the phone’s GPS signal to detect when the car is in motion, and they cut off access to the cellular network during those times. These apps aren’t available on all phones, of course. There are apps for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry, but you’ll be harder pressed to find a solution for a standard cell phone. They also don’t prevent the person from texting while at a stoplight, which can be just as dangerous and distracting.
Reward apps. There are also apps that track whether or not a phone is being used when the car is in motion, and send you a report. These apps can be used to reward your children for following the rules of safe driving. You might set up a system whereby a certain number of text-free trips results in extra time or use of the car, or even a boost in their allowance.
Parental controls from your cell phone service provider. Most of the major cell phone providers offer you a variety of parental control options. Usually this is in the form of allowing or denying text or calls during certain times of day or to certain people. At the very least, you could set up a rule that prevents them from texting during the time of day when they’re usually driving to school, work, or wherever there regular schedule takes them. Stick shift. Another way to keep kids’ fingers off their phones and focused on driving is to let them drive a car with a manual transmission. When you’re driving a stick shift, you have to keep both hands busy, especially when driving through town. They won’t pick up the phone, because they know if they do they can’t stop at the stoplight ahead.
Vehicle based cell phone blockers. There are a number of devices that connect with your car’s on-board systems to detect when the vehicle is in motion. Some of these product then send off a cell phone blocking signal, preventing your child’s phone from connecting to the cellular network. They might try to send a text, but it just won’t work.
Text to speech apps. This may not be the ideal solution, but it can work for some teens. Text to speech apps allow the user to create and read text messages audibly. The Siri app on the iPhone 4s is one iteration of this kind of technology, but there are similar apps on the market for other devices, as well. It still offers a certain level of distraction, just not as much distraction as texting itself offers.
Lead by example. One of the best ways to encourage safe driving habits of any sort is to set a good example for your teen drivers. Just because you’re an adult who’s been driving for 25 years and haven’t had an accident since college doesn’t mean it’s safe for you to text. If she sees you texting, her teenage mind is going to convince itself that it’s OK for her to text, too. This is perhaps your most powerful tool.
Texting and driving is proving to be extremely dangerous. As time goes on, we’re seeing more and more statistics that prove this fact. Encourage your kids to drive safely, and consider some of these solutions to help monitor and control their texting activity when you’re not in the car with them.