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Keeping Teen Drivers Safe: How to Eliminate Distracted Driving

Have you ever seen a teen involved or focused on multiple things as they are sending text messages? Cell phones are a must-have accessory for most teens. Unfortunately, the desire to stay connected is so strong for some teens that safety sometimes takes a backseat to staying in touch with friends and family.

According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project report, a quarter of U.S. teens ages 16 to 17 who have cell phones say they text while driving, and almost half of Americans ages 12 to 17 say they’ve been in cars with someone who texted while driving. In the study, teens reported that their parents are often texting too. The consequences of distracted driving can be deadly.

A 2007 study of nearly 1,000 teens from high schools nationwide by the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Liberty Mutual Insurance Group revealed that texting while driving is becoming as dangerous as drinking and driving, in terms of inhibiting a teen’s driving abilities.

Currently there is no uniform national ban on texting while driving. However, 23 states and Washington, D.C. ban all cell use by novice drivers, and 21 states, Washington, D.C. and Guam ban texting for all drivers. It is important to discourage teens from texting while behind the wheel.

Oprah Winfrey launched the “No Phone Zone” campaign against distracted driving in January 2010. The Oprah Show created the No Phone Zone pledge where a person agrees to not text while driving; not text and only using hands free calling; or not use their cell phone at all while driving.