teens driving while text messaging

5 Ways to Stop Your Teen from Texting While Driving

Parents have more power than they think when it comes to teen driving safety.

5 Ways to Stop Your Teen from Texting While Driving

Risky business: Some teens need their parents to clarify the dangers of texting while driving.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—"Car crashes are the number one cause of death for teenagers," Ann Shoket, editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine, said at the Department of Transportation's recent two-day Distracted Driving Summit. "More than drugs, more than disease, and more than guns." Shoket was hosting a panel discussion on the dangers of driving while text-messaging, which included two drivers who had caused accidents while doing so. Teen driving safety was a major issue at the summit, with many safety experts noting that teens have the highest crash rates but are also the least capable of multitasking.

"Texting and driving was something I'd done many times before," said Reggie Shaw, now 22, who caused a fatal head-on collision in Utah that killed two other drivers when he was 19. "But there's no excuse for what I did." Shaw now travels to high schools around Utah educating teenage drivers about the dangers of driving while text-messaging. "I can't drive down the road without thinking about what happened to me, what I did."

"We think we're invincible," added Nicole Meredith, who had an accident when she was 18. She was driving down the highway going 70 miles an hour, when, while she was texting a friend, she drifted onto the median, overcorrected, and ended up smashing her car into concrete barriers on the other side of the highway. "We think we can text, that we can call people, blast music. We think we're doing everything fine, and we're really not."

So how can you help your teenage driver from becoming a statistic? Here are some tips offered by Shoket and other youth safety advocates at the summit:

#1: Start with a conversation. Simply letting teenagers know about the dangers of driving while text messaging can send a strong message. "I was never taught in driver's ed or in school the dangers of it," said Shaw. "I'd never heard of a case where someone had been in accident for texting and driving, and I didn't realize how dangerous it was." And don't just focus on texting. "There are so many ways to get distracted, not just texting," said Shoket. Hit them with some statistics if need be. The Department of Transportation estimates that 6,000 people die every year from distracted driving. Research conducted by Seventeen found that most driving-while-texting accidents among teens happen between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., when they're driving home from school.

#2: Know the laws. If teens know that they could face up to 90 days in jail just for driving while text-messaging, or they could spend 15 years in prison for causing a fatality (which are now laws in Utah), they think twice about sending that note to their friends, said Shaw. "That would have been enough for me," he added. Find out what the regulations are in your state and make sure your teen knows them. They can be extremely helpful warning tools.

#3: Don't be subtle. Teens respond to harsh reality, said Shoket, and it helps to make it as real as possible. Share stories like Nicole's with them (a profile of Nicole was published in the August issue of Seventeen), Shoket said. "We need a lot more 'in-your-face' about what texting and driving can do," added Meredith. She brought up an extremely graphic public-service announcement released by a British police department that shows a texting teenager getting into a three-car pileup that results in two deaths in her car. "Just seeing that could change someone's perspective," she said. (Search Youtube to see the video; be aware that it's very violent.)

#4: Set clear rules and make sure the consequences have teeth. According to one survey, cellphone use while driving is 30 percent lower among teens whose parents set clear rules. "There are three very important things to a teen: their cellphone, their driver's license, and their keys," said Sandy Spavone, executive director for the National Organizations for Youth Safety. Let your kids know that if you find out they've been driving while text-messaging, you'll take all three away. "The parent has the power," said Spavone. After all, you are paying the bills. "If they're using the phones too much, take them away."

#5: Set a good example. "The research shows that parents can have a huge influence on their children," said Janet Froetscher, president and chief executive officer of the National Safety Council. You can let them know that it's unacceptable for them to be on the phone, but setting a good example is even more powerful. "They watch what you do." On the road, off the phone should be the rule for everyone.


Published on: October 2, 2009

More from our Authors

This breakthrough information links the little-known connection between diabetes, fatigue, heart disease, weight gain, high blood pressure, and more! Click here to learn more.

They take a “do as I say, not

They take a “do as I say, not as I do” approach to driving. If you don’t want your teen to talk on their cell or text while driving, hang up your cell first.

Take a mental inventory of all your driving behaviors and decide which ones you’d like to see your son or daughter copy. Then change the others. The sooner you become a role model as an alert, defensive driver, the better. Don’t wait until they get their learner’s license. They’re watching now. mercedes car key

It's too bad but these are

It's too bad but these are the fact, until they don't understand the risks nothing will ever change.

In Britain the use of a

In Britain the use of a mobile phone behind the wheel is against the law. This law was passed as a result of the increasing number of deaths on the road caused by drivers making and answering calls, texting and talking on the phone. Numerous studies beforehand had found that drivers' brains, eyes, hands and other senses were too distracted to use the phone and maintain 100% concentration on driving at the same time.

Using shock tactics is raising awareness and giving the hard truth and reality about death on the road caused by drivers paying more attention to a device in their hand than to their driving and other drivers on the road. I also believe that it should be made illegal in every country to use a mobile phone when driving so that it stops this cause of death now, and also makes it clear that there is zero tolerance to selfish driving.

Fleur Porsche service

Maybe if people would be

Maybe if people would be forced to make auto donations every time they are at fault for an accident that would surely change things. Let's see how many of them afford to donate a car every time they cause an accident. At some point they could give up driving.

It is important to explain to

It is important to explain to your teen that these technologies are meant to assist and remind them, not restrict them. It may be beneficial to implement and use these technologies on your own phone to familiarize yourself with their use and set a good example for your teen.

payday cash advance

It's hard to convince people

It's hard to convince people that something is 'just plain stupid' without evidence to back it up. When I was in Hhigh school My driver's ed class featured a number of disgusting accident aftermath films. I realize that nowadays that might not be the 'proper' approach to education about the dangers of driving, but let me tell you, those lessons (and the implications of not following them) have stuck with me for 30 years!

Peter - pmwltd

I totaled my car while texting and driving

Hi, I'm Nicole Meredith and I totaled her car while texting and driving. I spoke at the Distracted Driving Summit in Washington DC on October 1, 09. I hope my experence and story will make everyone think twice before they send a text while driving.

Here's my blog - I would love to hear from you and know your thoughts on this topic.

Be safe,

Distracted driving

My kids don't drive yet, but I showed them the British PSA on youtube and they said they will never forget it. For all you skeptics re: the power of conversation, try a little shock and awe....followed by conversation---it can't hurt!

Teen Driving and Cell Phone Use

I completely agree with the first comment, Kids and texting. I've raised 5 through to adulthood. No matter what you say, if they want to do it, they will do it. At that age they have the notion that they are ten foot tall and bullet proof, it always happens to someone else. One solution is to remove texting from the phone they use. Or take the phone when they use the car and give them one of the phones that has no features other than phone and limited minutes. These new "phones" are basically hand held computers. There is a lot more than texting that can distract them. If a kid has a phone, they are going to use it. Adults, remember the times before cells and all we had was a landline? Remember how teens tied up the phone? Now they just have the ability to carry that obsession on to the road.

Kids and texting

Anyone who thinks they can prevent their kids from texting while driving or doing any of the elicit things we all did when we were teenagers by (a) having a conversation that (b) explains the risks and (c) sets consequences is delusional and has not raised a young adult through teenage years.
Simply put, ages 12-21 are a horror; so strap in and get ready. The benefit is that most are lucky enough to survive to come out the other end when these little angels become persons once again ready to rejoin the human race.
Oh, and by the way, taking away the cell does nothing. They can simply go out and buy a prepaid (which you will have NO idea exists).
Now, taking away the CAR is a different matter. THAT they need you for. But get ready for the mother of all s...tstorms if you try that; I, for one, could not bear the pressure and I am one tough sob.

No way

You can not control what your kids do when they are out of your sight... Give me a break you people really believe you can control them... You will have to take away their cell in order to do that

Start Your Wellness Journey!
Sign up for updates on Rodale Wellness and get your FREE wellness journal to help you find your path to vibrant health. Click here to start your unique journey!

Free Newsletter
Sign up for our FREE newsletters to stay up to date on all of our wellness news.

  The Daily Fix
Useful news and practical tips to help you live a healthy life on a healthier planet.

  Wellness in Action
Find your path to vibrant health, and get your free wellness journal as our thanks!

You may unsubscribe at any time.

Your Privacy Rights. About Us.