Texting and Driving Facts
As a parent, you know one of the most dangerous and tempting distractions to teen drivers are cell phones. But did you know that talking and texting while behind the wheel can be deadly? Consider these important texting and driving facts:
- Research tells us that teens have the reaction time of a 70-year-old when distracted while driving.
- Crash risk is four times higher when a driver uses a cell phone, whether or not it’s hands-free, according to recent research.
- Many states have instituted a ban on driver hand-held cell phone use (both talking and texting).
- The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed nearly 1,700 videos that capture the actions of teen drivers in the moments before a crash. It found that distractions were a factor in nearly 6 of 10 moderate to severe crashes. That's four times the rate in many previous official estimates that were based on police reports.
Research shows that typing text messages reduces a driver's capability to adequately direct attention to the roadway, to respond to important traffic events, and to control a vehicle within a lane and with respect to other vehicles.
Let your teen driver know that using a cell phone while driving is only acceptable in an emergency (and only then, by pulling over to answer it). Be sure to emphasize that texting behind the wheel is never okay. Many believe that a hands-free device is the answer. It’s not. According to studies conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), crash risk is four times higher when a driver uses a cell phone, whether or not it's hands-free. Apparently the danger is not just from the typing. It’s from the distracting conversation or messaging.
Provide your teen with practical alternatives to talking or texting on a cell phone while driving:
- Complete any call or text before starting the car.
- Get directions and try to visualize where you’re going before turning the key.
- Check in with friends or parents only after arrival.
- Pull over for urgent calls.
Learn more about this risk, including the
cell phone laws in your state.