Thousands of people in the United States are killed every year because of distracted driving, and one of the most common distractions on the road is cell phones. In Michigan, it is illegal to text and drive. The first offense costs motorists $100, with additional offenses costing $200.
Despite the dangers and legal consequences, texting and driving remains prevalent. A study recently published in the Journal of Adolescent Health indicates that teens may be especially tempted to use cell phones while driving. The study found that about 38 percent of teens text and drive. This is why it is extremely important that parents talk to their teenagers about the dangers of this behavior.
When talking with your teen, share some of the statistics of texting and driving. This will back up the validity of your concern.
Set a rule against distracted driving, as well as a punishment of lost driving privileges if that rule is broken. However, you should also try to make a point to reward good behavior when you see it. Even verbal praise can help encourage your teen’s safe driving habits.
As a parent, you should also be sure to model good behavior. If you need to address a phone call or text message while you are driving, consider entrusting this task to your teen or another passenger. If your teen sees you practice distracted driving, it may undermine the concerns and expectations you set for your child.
Distracted driving is a dangerous offense that can lead to serious injury or death. That is why it is important that your teen understands the risks associated with distracted driving and builds safe driving habits he or she can carry through life.