Texting and Driving

Texting is a dangerous and prevalent driving distraction. Many people readily admit to texting and using cell phones behind the wheel, a distraction which takes motorists’ attention off driving. These distractions can make a driver miss critical events, objects, and cues or abandon control of a vehicle, all potentially leading to a crash. Distracted drivers put not only themselves at risk, but everyone else using the road. According to NHTSA, one of every ten fatal crashes in the U.S. involves distraction, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths per year.

What Do We Know About Teens and Distraction?

Drivers age 16-19 are avid users of distracting technologies according to the AAA Foundation’s 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index, a nationally representative poll of drivers age 16 and older.

The AAA Foundation also found that among newly licensed teen drivers, the use of electronic devices was the most common distracting behavior and was more prevalent when a teen was alone in the car.  According to the study, teen drivers were three times as likely to look away from the road when using an electronic device, and looked away for a full second longer, on average, than drivers not using an electronic device.

Tips for preventing texting and driving:

  • Don’t be tempted: turn off your cell phone.  Let voicemail capture your voice and text messages.
  • If you have to call or text while driving, pull off the road safely and stop.
  • Recognize that text messaging can be a habit.  Get support from your friends by letting them know you are working on breaking the texting habit.
  • If you think you will still be tempted to text and drive, put your phone somewhere you can’t reach it, like the trunk.
  • Take control of your cell phone, don’t let it control you.  You are the only one who decides when and if you send and read a text message.

Tips for parents of teens:

  • Don’t call/text your teen at times when you know they are likely to be driving.
  • Review your teen’s cell phone bill with them to see if they are texting at times they are likely to be driving.
  • Go to teendriving.aaa.com to learn more about the dangers of cell phones and teen driving.  Share this information with your teen.
  • Know the Colorado Graduated Drivers Licensing law.  It is illegal for teens with an instruction permit to use a cell phone while driving.
  • Establish family rules that prohibit texting while driving.
  • Set a good example, don’t text and drive.

 

 

More AAA resources on texting and other distracted driving issues:

Teen Driver Distraction>>

Risks and Factor for New Drivers>>

Tips for preventing distracted driving>>