Texting and Driving: A Killing Combination

Make the rules long before your kids get behind the wheel. By Caroline Knorr
Texting and Driving: A Killing Combination

Teens love to text. They’ll send messages any time and anywhere. But if they text from behind the wheel of a car, the results could be deadly.

Studies show that texting and driving is as dangerous as drinking and driving. If you text while behind the wheel, you’re 23 times more likely to crash. Although many states have laws making it illegal to text while driving, teens (and many parents) still do it, even though they know it's dangerous. When teens are driving, any activity besides keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel -- like emailing, downloading music, taking pictures –- is a huge no no.

So how can you make sure your teen is phone-free while behind the wheel?

  • Make it non-negotiable. Teens need to understand that keys and phones simply do not mix. Let them know that distracted driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving.
  • Set clear rules. Tell your teens to turn off their phones and put them in the glove box before they start the car. If you’re not sure your teen has the will power to do this consistently, consider using apps that specifically restrict texting while driving.
  • Download an app that disables the phone when you're driving. If you don't trust yourself, get an app that will keep you honest.
  • Set an example. Resist the impulse to check your own phone while in traffic. Your kids are watching what you do. And chances are, they’ll copy your behavior.

There’s no denying that texting is here to stay. So managing when and where your kids do use their phones is critical -- not just for their development, but for their safety as well.

About Caroline Knorr

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As Common Sense Media's parenting editor, Caroline helps parents make sense of what’s going on in their kids' media lives. From games to cell phones to movies and more, if you're wondering "what’s the right age for…?"... Read more

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Comments (3)

Teen, 16 years old written by ksedwards

I strongly agree about setting an example for your child of your kid copying & watching of your behavior while driving, So parents should watch what they do while they're driving their are chances that there child will follow your behavior of driving.
Adult written by moatmom

Roots and Wings. We teach them. We plant the seeds. We tend to them and make them be strong and solid. We let them know they are rooted deep in our hearts with love and a safe places to return to if they need to after they've spread their wings to fly and soar independently. My child just started driving. He has always put the phone in his glove compartment as soon as he gets in behind the wheel. He's a GOOD kid, but I still worry every time he goes up to his room, every time he leaves the house (with or without friends)and now there is a car involved (although he can't have friends with him in the car). He's now pushing the independence envelope (language) and is also testing the limitations and boundaries that have been set for him for reporting in while he's out, asking and not "telling" us his plans. I'm having trouble accepting his independence and desire and right for privacy, but I want to know whats going on in his life. He knows he can talk to us about anything and usually does, but I still worry that he seeks advice from kids on line or worse yet adults on line. I've never been a helicopter mom and his father and I have always been very open and frank with him and helped him make decisions, but I'm worried about the things we don't see. I feel the need to "stalk" him, but it has nothing to do with trust of him. It has to do with me and not wanting to let go too soon. Just today I found www. commonsensemedia.org because I was looking for ways to "stalk" him on line without him knowing I'm doing it. He's NEVER given me reason to distrust him and 99% of the time he makes good decisions, but it's the split-second decisions I worry about. For example, in his moment of pride and accomplishment he posted his learners permit on Facebook. I had to in panic and shrill voice tiger mom explain why that was such a bad decision - on so many levels. It's those kind of decisions that happen that can change a life (or lives) in an instant. Has he or will he post something or say something on social media that can/will be out there forever? Will he or won't he text or use his phone behind the wheel? I hope and I pray that he has paid attention and learned from our examples and teaching as parents to make the right decisions. The love of a child grows toward separation, but I'm not ready for that yet. OK, I think I've vented enough that I won't try to find ways to "stalk" him. Any thoughts?
Adult written by morethon

This article will serve as an eye opener to everyone whose being hardheaded in terms of their safety while driving. Since doing this two thing sat the same time will just cause an accident nor tragedy. So far, police in a number of states have not been able to catch too many people who are texting while driving though most are still likely doing it. To help stop the dangerous practice, the Department of Transportation has granted a $550,000 grant to discover possible ways of catching it. A cash-advance can help you pay for your ticket.