Teens look forward to earning their driver’s license. With a driver’s license comes more freedom and independence. Unfortunately, parents are not always quite as enthusiastic about this milestone in their children’s lives. Teen drivers lack experience and are more prone to taking risks. Add distraction to the equation and parents have one more reason to be concerned.
According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving car accidents took 3,450 lives last year. Most of those distracted drivers were teens. Cell phones are not the only distractions. Teens who turn to talk to other passengers, put on makeup, or fiddle with the radio for even a few seconds increase their crash risk significantly.
How Distraction Impacts Driving
There are three different kinds of distraction. Cognitive distraction affects your decision-making. Manual distraction takes your hands off the wheel. Visual distraction takes our eyes off the road. Texting is the most common and potentially the most dangerous because it involves all three types of distraction. Typing or reading a text for as little as five seconds is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blindfolded. You are powerless to react to hazards and avoid a collision.
Data on Teens and Distracted Driving
TeenSafe, a cell phone monitoring service for parents, estimates that texting while driving increases the risk of a car accident by 400 percent. That is a frightening statistic considering 40 percent of teens polled said at some point they had been passengers in a car when the driver was using their cell phone.
Preventing Distracted Driving Among Teens
While it is clear that distracted driving among teens is a real problem, many parents are unsure about what they can do to help. Safety experts recommend the following:
- Education – Parents, teachers, and driving instructors can teach teens about the dangers of distracted driving. As scary as the facts can be, teens need to know that distracted driving endangers not only themselves, but also their passengers and other drivers.
- Legislation – Forty-seven states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, currently ban texting while driving. Legal and financial consequences encourage teens to think twice before sending that text while behind the wheel.
- Technology – Smartphone apps can be used to shut down phone activity while driving. Some mute texts and calls when a teen gets behind the wheel while others track and notify parents of unsafe driving habits.
Teens are among our most vulnerable drivers. They often lack the confidence that comes with experience. Helping them make smart and safe decisions requires education and support. Parents and other trusted adults are their best teachers. We need to model safe driving and inspire them to follow suit.
Cherry Hill Car Accident Lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. Fight for Those Injured by Distracted Drivers
If you or a loved one has been injured by a careless or negligent driver, the Cherry Hill personal injury lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. are here to help. Distracted driving accidents leave lasting physical and emotional scars. We work for the compensation you deserve so you can begin rebuilding your life.
To discuss your situation with a compassionate and experienced Cherry Hill car accident lawyer, call 856-354-9444 or submit an online inquiry today. Our offices are located in Cherry Hill, Philadelphia, and King of Prussia to serve residents throughout South Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.