A ‘Crash’ Course in Texting While Driving

February 16, 2012

As a security expert, I am used to dealing with statistics that seem unreal to people outside of
the security industry, but this latest statistic about teens texting while driving blows me away. A
nationwide study conducted jointly by the Liberty Mutual Insurance Group and SADD (Students
Against Destructive Decisions) revealed that nearly 50% of teens admit to text messaging while
driving. Wow.

Teens have numerous reasons for refusing to put down the phone when behind the wheel
of a car—“I need to tell my parents or friends where I am”, “I only text when I need to get
directions”, “I might miss an important message.” And these reasons are often coupled with a
variety of practices teens use to increase the safety of texting while driving such as doing a quick
exchange of texts while the car is stopped at a red light. But, the danger is real—each year, 24%
of fatal car crashes involving teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 were the result of cell
phone usage, a number experts expect to grow as much as 4% every year.

So, what can parents do to keep their teens from texting while driving? Here are a few of the
tips I have included in my new e-book, Safe Text: Protecting Your Teens from the Dangers of

Use Scare Tactics When Necessary
This tip may surprise you, but it has proven to be effective. There are numerous videos available
that show the dangers of texting and driving (some extremely graphic—please preview any
videos before showing to your teen driver). One we recommend is “Footage That Will Stop You
Texting While Driving”.

Ban Cell Phones from Drivers
Many parents are now enforcing a strict policy of “If you drive, you leave your phone at home”.
At the very least, teen drivers should be required to turn their phone off while driving and keep
cell phones the glove compartment, purse or backpack

Be a Positive Role Model
Adopt a “Do as I Do” attitude and stop texting while driving. Teens learn by example and need
to see their parents actually practicing what they preach.

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