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How to teach teens about distracted driving

Each year, more and more motorists are dying in accidents caused by distracted driving. Teenagers may be whizzes at texting and using their phone for anything and everything, but they are even more at risk of causing a distracted driving accident. In fact, distracted driving causes 58% of teen accidents.

Most states now are including information about distracted driving in driver’s training courses, but parents play a role in teaching their teens about the dangers of distracted driving too.

What is distracted driving?

The most dangerous form of distracted driving is texting and talking on a cellphone. With texting, if a driver spends five seconds texting at 55 miles per hour, their car has traveled the length of a football field. Being that distracted in rush hour or on the freeway easily can lead to a devastating accident, especially for a teen who is an inexperienced driver.

Other forms of distracted driving include the following:

  • Using a navigation system while driving
  • Putting on makeup while driving
  • Eating while driving

What are the consequences of teen distracted driving?

In Connecticut, 16-year-old and 17-year-old drivers cited for distracted driving will have their license suspended for 30 days and face a $175 fine, as well as court costs. For a third offense, the license suspension is six months, plus the $175 fine.

What can parents do about it?

First, parents not only can talk to their teens about the dangers of distracted driving, but they also can set a good example. If you never use your phone while driving, you are showing them that they don’t need to either.

Second, parents can have teens sign a teen driving contract, laying out what the family consequences are for distracted driving and drunk driving. Having them understand they will lose driving privileges from you, as well as access to their phone and more, will have them think twice before driving distracted.

Finally, parents should tell their teens that passengers play a role in distracted driving too. You can inform your teen’s friends and their parents you expect them all to speak out if someone is driving distracted. Doing so will protect everyone in the car, which is something everyone should care about.

If you or your teen is injured severely in a distracted driving accident, you need to consult a personal injury attorney to ensure any medical costs or compensation for lost work time are covered.

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