OMG! Tons of teens text while driving
This story out of Tampa illustrates the results of a recently released survey by the National Organizations for Youth Safety and the Allstate Foundation. The survey found that although they recognize the danger, 68 percent of teens admit texting while they drive. That's in addition to the 83 percent who say they talk on their cell phones while driving. The survey, which was released in conjunction with National Youth Traffic Safety Month, also showed that young drivers feel talking and texting on cell phones is as dangerous as driving on icy roads and in rain and snow.
The teen in the Tampa case took it a step further: While driving and texting with two friends in the car, she slammed into a police car Thursday morning. Of course, she was ditching school. Luckily, only minor injuries were reported.
Statistics show that car crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, making up a third of all deaths in the 16-19 age range. Some dangerous behaviors occur in this group: They are more likely to speed and more likely not to use a seat belt. And if there are other teens in the car, it raises the risk of an accident.
During National Youth Traffic Safety Month, you're supposed to chat with your teens about safe driving habits and get them to buy into the fact that paying attention while you are on the road is important. You can also show them these videos online (where they can vote for their favorite) of teens who are trying to promote safe driving habits.
I don't think it's too early to discuss these kinds of habits with your tween. I know I'll have a teen driver in my house in a few years. I definitely want him to know what's expected when he gets behind the wheel of a car. And you should also be a good driving role model for your kids.
The Tampa case shows that it's not just a national problem. Talk to your teens -- before it's too late.
-- Sherry Robinson