Distracted driving is a factor in about ten percent of all fatal accidents involving 15- to 19-year-old drivers, making teen drivers the age group with the largest percentage of drivers who are distracted at the time of fatal accidents, according to the federal government.
Distracted driving refers to any activity done while driving that takes the focus away from driving. Although texting and cell phone use are the most common types of distracted driving, there are many ways that a driver can become distracted—and they may all be deadly.
Common Types of Distracted Driving
There are many types of distractions that can occur while driving, including:
- Cell phone use (including texting).
- Eating and drinking.
- Talking with passengers.
- Changing radio stations.
- Watching a video.
- Personal grooming such as brushing hair or putting on make-up.
Just a few seconds of engaging in these types of behaviors can lead to devastating consequences. Unfortunately, many teens do not understand the risks, or do not think a car crash could happen to them.
Kentucky Laws Seek to Prevent Teens From Distracted Driving
The Commonwealth of Kentucky has driving laws to try to prevent teens from distracted driving accidents. Specifically, novice drivers under the age of 18 are banned from using any type of handheld electronic while driving. Additionally, Kentucky bans texting while driving for all drivers, regardless of their age.
How Parents Can Prevent Teens From Distracted Driving
Despite state laws seeking to prevent teen distracted driving accidents, parents may still be their children’s best teachers. There are several things parents can do to encourage safe driving habits for their teens and to prevent distracted driving tragedies. Specifically, parents can…
- Talk to their kids. Talk about the importance of driving safely and the dangers of texting and talking on the phone while driving. Explain how quickly tragedy can strike when your eyes leave the road for just a moment.
- Set ground rules. Establish family driving rules and explain them clearly to your child. Remind him or her about the consequences of breaking driving laws or family rules.
- Be an example. Consciously try to set a good example for your teen. Teens can spot disingenuous behavior in a heartbeat. The safer you drive, the more likely your teen will be to follow your example.
- Take a ride with their kids. This will help you identify your child’s unique behaviors that could lead to a distracted driving crash. Watch for cell phone use, when and how your child adjusts music, eating, and how your child interacts with passengers.
Additionally, we invite you to help your child’s friends avoid a distracted driving accident by sharing this article on Facebook. Even if your son or daughter doesn’t give in to these distractions, they probably have a friend who does and other parents may see this article and get their children the help they need before a tragedy occurs.