Driving is a right not a privilege and teen drivers should understand what that means. Drivers must be licensed to pilot a two-ton vehicle which can cause real harm to people and property when not operated correctly. Distracted driving is nothing new and some people drive attentively at “ten and two” while others are consistently trying to multitask, including texting, while they are driving. To text while driving is already risky, but add an inexperienced driver into the mix, and you are looking at a disastrous combination altogether according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- 10 percent of fatal crashes were caused by text messaging and driving.
- 15 percent of all injurious accidents were caused by text messaging while driving.
- 9 percent of teens ages of 15-19 were involved in fatal crashes due to distracted driving.
- 11 teens a day die from texting and driving.
- Teens are 4 times more likely to get in an accident from texting than adults.
The real disadvantage to driving and trying to text message at the same time is that the human brain is really only programmed to one thing at a time or the brain begins to slow down with each activity. With the teenage brain especially, the lapse in judgement slows down in adding tasks to the mix of what they are already doing. When they are driving, this gives the teen a slower reaction time to process what is happening in their surroundings. The National Safety Council (NSC) states on their website, “The brain toggles between tasks – but can’t do two things at the same time. The activity in the area of the brain that processes moving images decreases by up to ⅓.” They go on to say, “New studies show using voice-to-text is MORE distracting than typing texts by hand.” Any way a teen goes with texting while driving means that they are putting themselves in serious danger to harm someone else or themselves. Looking at the screen of their phone causes a 3-5 second delay that can be detrimental in how they react to a slowed car, someone coming into their lane, or other circumstances that could occur while driving. The good news is that 94 percent of teens acknowledge that texting and driving is not a good choice to make. Teach them how to turn on their driving mode to enable their phones while driving for their own protection. To ensure that teens put down their phones while they are driving, talking to them about the real risks is a great start.
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