46421437_sAsk any parent who is raising teens today what it’s like to try to speak to your kids when they have a cell phone. At the dinner table, in the car, watching a movie, shopping, at work or just walking – their heads are down and their fingers are tapping away. Teens today are always on their phones. Try being around a teen who misplaces their phone and chaos breaks out until it’s found. Cell phones today are almost as important to teens as food (and some teens might even say their phone is more important)!

With this type of cell phone obsession, how are parents ever supposed to trust their teens not to text and drive? No matter how much parents talk to their teens about the dangers of texting behind the wheel, the temptation is still too great. Excessive texting is rampant and no doubt here to stay.

According to the CDC, each day in the United States, more than nine people are killed, and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.

A distracted driver is a person who takes their eyes off the road, hands off the steering wheel or mind off of driving. Activities that cause distractions include using a cell phone, texting, eating, using in-vehicle navigation systems, and using audio devices.

The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) ran a campaign in October that emphasized the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers. One of those five was using a cell phone or texting while driving.

The NHTSA says on their website that “texting or dialing while driving is more than just risky – it’s deadly. In 2013, among drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 11 percent were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the highest percentage of drivers distracted by phone use.”

Parents are facing an uphill battle trying to convince their teen of the dangers of texting and driving. Online Schools reported in 2012 that 52% of young-adult drivers said it was easy to text and drive while 34% of teens said they have texted while behind the wheel.

I would be remiss to say that teens are the only ones partaking in this risky behavior of texting and driving. Parents are doing it too! It’s a classic case of do as I say, not as I do. When it comes to highway safety, the parent is the role model. Unfortunately, from the studies that I’ve read most teens believe that adults, including their parents, are texting and driving. So if parents want to have an impact on their teens safety behind the wheel – parents must first practice what they preach. That’s always the best place to start!

‘5 to Drive’ campaign
Driving While Intexticated
Teen drivers are texting, just like their parents Washington Post, 2012


Originally available here