Each year, statistics are confirming that distracted driving is a growing problem in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatalities and injuries caused by distracted driving are increasing with over 3,475 people killed and 391,000 injured in 2015 alone.
Teenagers at Risk
The statistics reflect the continuing need for education about the dangers of distracted driving. This is especially true for teen drivers. A recent six-year study of teen drivers by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety determined that 58% of teen auto accidents are caused by distracted driving. The leading causes included:
- Interacting with one or more passengers (15%).
- Using a cell phone (12%).
- Looking at something in the vehicle (10%).
- Observing something outside the vehicle (9%).
- Singing and/or moving to music (8%).
- Grooming (6%).
- Reaching for an object (6%).
How Parents Can Take Action
Parents play a critical role in preventing distracted driving. The NHTSA suggests the following:
- Talk to your teen about the rules and responsibilities involved in driving. Share some stories and statistics related to teen drivers and distracted driving.
- Set consequences for distracted driving and consider the following options if your teen breaks your rules about distracted driving: suspending driving privileges; further limiting the hours/places permitted to drive; or limiting cell phone usage.
- Set the example and remember that you are a role model for your novice teen driver. It is important to be consistent between the message that you tell your teen and your driving behaviors.
Start Your Own Campaign to Stop Distracted Driving
After witnessing the devastating impact that distracted driving can have on families and their future, Maring Williams Law Office decided to participate to make good change for the future. This week alone, we will be at three different schools giving distracted driving presentations. If you would like to give us one at your school, please call (701) 402-6644.