6 Steps for Parents to Deter Teen Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving by OregonDOT on FlickrDistracted driving is a major cause of injury and death in motor vehicle accidents. The following information from theUSDOT Distracted Driving Website details steps that parents can take to help reduce this problem.

Step 1: Set a good example

Kids learn from their parents. Put down your phone while driving and only use it when you’ve safely pulled off the road. According to the Pew Research Center, 40 percent of teens 12 to 17 say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger.

Step 2: Talk to your teen

Discuss the risks and responsibilities of driving, and the danger of dividing their attention between a cell phone and the road. Show them the statistics related to distracted driving. And urge them to talk to others; friends take care of friends.

Step 3: Establish ground rules

Set up family rules about not texting or talking on a handheld cell phone while behind the wheel. Enforce the limits set by your state’s graduated licensing program, if one exists, or create your own family policies.

Step 4: Sign a pledge

Have your teen take action by agreeing to a family contract about wearing safety belts and not speeding, driving after drinking, or using a cell phone behind the wheel. Agree on penalties for violating the pledge, including paying for tickets or loss of driving privileges.

Step 5: Educate yourself

Find out more about this tragic problem. View the information and resources available at www.distraction.gov and www.ConsumerReports.org/distracted. The more you know, the more you will understand the seriousness of the issue.

Step 6: Spread the word

Get involved in educating and promoting safe driving in your community and through online social-media websites. Talk to friends, family, and coworkers. And support advocacy organizations such as the National Organizations for Youth Safety and FocusDriven.

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