Texting and Driving: What You Can Do for Teens

We all know that texting while driving is a problem. I'm probably not the only one who can identify texting drivers as I drive behind them by the way they drift across their lanes, are slower to react and—inevitably—are often looking down into their laps. Yet, despite the recognition that texting is so dangerous, many people (perhaps ourselves included) still do it.

Did you know that more than 8 people are killed and 1,161 people are injured every day due to distracted driving? As a parent or caring adult, we have a particular responsibility to educate teens about the risks. Here are just a few ideas on how to do so:

  • Start talking about the risks before they start driving: Point out when people are texting or distracted on the road and the ill effects of those decisions before they face the temptation to do it themselves.
  • Model good behavior: Resist texting while driving, even at stoplights. Deliberately answer messages before you start driving and then put the phone in a safe spot.
  • Enforce a no-texting rule: Driving is a privilege—consider letting the children in your care know that resisting distractions is essential to being allowed to get behind a wheel.
  • Encourage them to keep their distance from distracted drivers: Just as you would with a drunk driver, tell the youth to put a lot of space between themselves and distracted drivers on the road. Also discourage them from driving with friends who text and drive.

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