Research complied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that distracted driving caused 6,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries in 2008. And data shows that these numbers are continuing to grow. Research also shows that teen drivers are four times more likely to be involved in a distracted-related collision than any other age group. Here are some guidelines you as a parent should stress to your teen:
- Keep both hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road (use mirrors).
- Avoid cellphone use - Cellphones are the No. 1 distraction for teenager drivers. Cellphone use falls under the categories of visual, manual and cognitive distractions. Mobile technology has made texting, surfing the Internet and social networking all too easy.
- Encourage teenagers to avoid using their phones, for anything at all, until they are safely pulled off the road and parked. Devices are available to disable cell phone use in autos.
Teenagers should also refrain from the following activities while driving, according to the US Department of Transportation:
- Eating and drinking
- Having lengthy or involved discussions with passengers
- Reading (including maps)
- Using a PDA or navigation system
- Watching a video
- Changing the radio station, CD or MP3 player