Texting is an increasingly popular method for communication, especially for teens and 'tweens. But this need to be in constant contact with friends can lead teens to dangerous behavior — such as texting while driving.
Texting and driving can have deadly consequences. About 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That same year, more than 3,300 people were killed in car crashes involving a distracted driver.
These are sobering statistics. Many people pride themselves on their ability to multitask, but research shows that the human brain isn't capable of giving full attention to many things at once.
Driving while texting isn't the only danger. Many teens get distracted by their friends or other passengers in the car and their phone habits. Talking about the latest gossip trend and even checking out a funny YouTube video can mean disaster for everyone in the car.
Talk to your teens about the dangers of texting while driving and emphasize that a text or tweet is not worth their life. Many states and municipalities have enacted laws and ordinances limiting texting or talking on cellphones, so there can be legal ramifications as well.
Help your teens come up with a plan to text without compromising their safety. Encourage them to stop the car and pull over in a safe place if they need to send a text message or make a phone call. Many people even turn off the phone completely when driving to lessen temptation to answer calls or texts. Teens may roll their eyes, but it's an important conversation to have — more than once.
For more information about safe driving and safe passenger conversations and tips, contact Safe Kids St. Louis, a program of SSM Cardinal Glennon, at 314-612-5770 or cardinalglennon.com/safekids.