Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
September 19 may have been designated No Text On Board Pledge Day, the national day for anti-texting and driving, but texting and driving can always wait. Before you get behind the wheel and think about picking up the phone to send that text, take a second to consider that you’re 23 more times more likely to be in an accident while texting.
The National Safety Council reports that texting while driving is the cause of more than 100,000 car crashes that resulted in injury and fatalities each year. Did you also know:
- 97% of teens know that texting is driving is dangerous
- 75% of teens indicated the texting while behind the wheel is common among friends
- 43% of teens admit to texting while driving
- 89% of surveyed teens expect a reply to a text or email within 5 minutes or less 77% of teens reported seeing their parents text while driving
Texting while driving takes a driver’s eyes away from the road and puts the focus on the phone. It may only take an average of 5 seconds to send a text but texting drivers are 23 more times more likely to be in an accident.
Besides the dangers of texting and driving, parents need to model proper cell phone use and provide real examples about why this is such a dangerous behavior. Teens that are reaching the driving age can’t be expected to put down the phone if mom and dad are texting behind the wheel.
How can parents broach this very important topic as a family? Here are 4 ways to work together to prevent texting while driving.
- Start the conversation in your family about the real consequences of texting while driving. Do your driving teens really know the potential consequences of texting? Talk about the stats. Be honest about your behavior. If you do text behind the wheel, own up to it and tell them you’re going to stop. Discuss how you can work together to ensure that everyone is safe while driving.
- Provide real live examples. Invincible teens with an attitude of “this will never happen to me” should watch the powerful 10 minute Don’t Text While Driving Documentary with real live examples of how a single text changed people’s lives forever. It features the story of girl named Ashley who died the day before her high school graduation because of a single text. It tells the story of a young man who crashed his car into and killed a cyclist while sending LOL. It shares how one teen hit a tree while texting and was declared dead at the scenes three times.
- Model proper cell phone use by putting down the phone while in the car. If it’s tempting to grab your phone, put it in the back seat or in a place where it isn’t easy to get to. If you’re still tempted, enable safety features like AT&T Drive Mode or Safely Go to block texts from coming in while the car is in motion and prevent you from sending them.
- Pledge to never text and drive. Take the pledge as a family by visiting ItCanWait.com and pledging with a single click. Share your pledge on Facebook and Twitter to spread the word and get others involved in this life saving initiative.
Teenage girl texting on cell phone while driving via Shutterstock. Statistics courtesy of AT&T and National Safety Council.