Parents Sometimes Contribute to Teens’ Distracted Driving

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Teen Distracted Driving

Every parent who has a teen driver worries, at least to some extent, about their teen’s safety while driving. One of the main worries is about texting and driving.

Parents are right to worry about teens engaging in texting while driving. Studies show that 71 percent of teens and young people admit to having composed or sent a text message while driving. Another 78 percent say they have read a text message while driving. However, while parents want to keep their kids safe from texting and driving, sometimes parents actually contribute to this dangerous behavior by sending their kids text messages or calling them while they are driving.

Parents Perhaps Unknowingly Causing Teens To Be Distracted While Driving

According to new research, up to half of all teens talking on their cell phones while driving are actually speaking to their mother or father. In the study, researchers interviewed or surveyed approximately 400 teenage drivers from 31 states who were between 15-years old and 17-years old. They found that teens with learner’s permits were the least likely to talk and drive (with 43 percent of these teens not using a phone). However, when 15- to 17-year olds had an unrestricted license, only 29 percent chose to not use their phones while driving. By the time these teens reached age 18, the number of teens who did not talk and drive fell to only 10 percent. When asked who they talked with while driving, more than one-third of 15- to 17-year olds and half of 18-year-olds included their parents as someone they talked with while driving.

The same researchers found that teens were somewhat less likely to text when driving. They found that almost two-thirds of teens with learners’ permits did not text while driving. However, the researchers found that only 25 percent of 18-year-olds with an unrestricted license avoided texting while driving. For those teens who admitted to texting while driving, 8 percent of 15- to 17-year old drivers admitted that they had texted a parent while behind the wheel. This number rose to 16 percent for 18-year-old drivers.

The findings in this study support those found in another study where as many as 86 percent of 11th and 12th graders admitted to using their cellphones while driving.

When teens were specifically asked why they talked or texted with their parents while driving, the teens told researchers that their parents expected to be able to reach them and that their parents would perhaps get angry if they could not contact the teen. So, while parents were sometimes checking on their children’s whereabouts to make sure that their children safe, these same parents also were creating a dangerous situation where their teen driver feels compelled to reply to the parent’s telephone call or text message while driving.

Teen Distracted Driving Leads To Accidents

Each year, nearly 3,000 teens are killed and another 280,000 are treated in emergency departments after sustaining injuries in motor vehicle accidents. Of the fatal crashes, approximately 10 percent are caused by teen distracted driving and 21 percent of those teen distracted driving crashes involve cell phone use, according to a 2013 report by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

To reduce the possibility that parents may be a source of their teens’ distracted driving, experts recommend that parents let their teens know that it is okay for teens to wait until they reach their destination before replying to a phone call or text message. Alternatively, experts recommend that parents encourage their teens to at least pull over to the side of the road if it is necessary for the teen to use their phones.

Tallahassee Lawyers Help Distracted Driver Crash Victims

If you have been injured in a car accident that you believe was caused by a negligent or distracted driver, the experienced Tallahassee area personal injury lawyers at Fasig & Brooks are available to help you obtain the monetary compensation that you deserve. Call us today at (850) 222-3232 or use our online contact form to arrange for your free consultation.