By Liz McGehee
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,477 lives and caused 391,000 injuries in 2015 with teens as the largest group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes. More troubling are the 660,000 drivers the NHTSA claims are using electronic devices while driving during the day.
But distracted driving isn’t merely just texting or making calls on your phone. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) says, distracted driving includes eating and drinking, checking email, posting on social media, taking photos, changing your music, reaching for your phone, putting makeup on, grooming, checking your GPS or map and using apps.
Most of us are more than a little guilty of a few of these offenses, which is why it’s crucial to set a good example for your teen. If they see you eating and driving or fiddling with the GPS while in motion, they’ll undoubtedly see these behaviors as acceptable and mimic you. Another way you can help your teen is by downloading apps that limit phone usage when driving. DMV.org suggests these four apps: LifeSaver, AT&T DriveMode, TrueMotion Family and Mojo.
You should also talk to your teen. Before getting behind the wheel alone, they need to understand that a vehicle is a heavy piece of machinery capable of doing immense damage to others and themselves.
The vehicle is a heavy piece of machinery capable of doing immense damage to others and themselves.
Make them aware of the following DMV statistics:
- When you send a text, you take your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds. That’s the time it takes to drive the length of a football field going 55 MPH! (U.S. Department of Transportation).
- Distracted driving accounts for 9 deaths every day – deaths that are completely preventable simply by keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
- At any moment during the daylight hours, about 660,000 drivers are handling cell phones or other electronic devices while driving in the U.S. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
- You are 3 times more likely to get into an accident when distracted driving by manipulating a mobile device (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute).