TEEN AND DISTRACTED DRIVING IS problem that is OUT OF CONTROL

The sooner teens learn how to driver, the sooner they start texting and driving.

Distracted driving among teens is a problem that has been raging out of control for the past 10 years. Distracted driving, which normally centers around cell phone use and texting, also includes other activities such as:

  • eating
  • reaching for an object or picking items up off the floor
  • reading
  • doing your makeup or grooming
  • talking to other passengers
  • adjusting the radio or climate controls
  • manipulating a cell phone
  • using or reaching a device/object
  • driver inattention
  • looking at something inside the vehicle
  • looking at something outside the vehicle

A distraction-affected car accident is any accident in which a driver was identified as distracted at the time of the accident. Many people do not realize, but teens and distracted driving is presently one of the biggest issues on our roadways today. Distracted driving has surpassed impaired driving as the #1 cause of cars accidents on our roads, and unfortunately many accidents are caused by teen driver using cell phones.  In fact, a 2018 study done in the U.S. by the Centre for Injury Research and Policy researched approximately 102,000 teens over 35 states and the results were staggering – one and three admitted to texting and driving on a regular basis.

Also, in a March 2019 study completed by the U.S. Department of Transportation told us that in 2015, an estimated 2,443,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents. Of the 2,443,000 people, 963,000 of were teen drivers aged 16 to 19. Distraction-affected crashes were estimated at 391,000 (or 16% of all the injured people).  Even worse is that in 2018, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that nearly 6 out of 10 severe teen crashes were as a result of driver distraction.

Teens and their phones go hand in hand.  It’s rare to see a teen without a cell phone.  iPhone, Android, Google phone…for most, it is a primary method of communication.  Sadly, many teens continue to text even while driving. Despite the well-known implications of texting and driving, an alarming number of teenagers still admit to doing it. According to the Ontario-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, a large percentage of teenagers are texting while driving.  33% of students in grades 10 to 12 say they have texted while driving at least once in the prior year.  The number climbs when looking at just grade 12 students where 46% admitted to it. In fact, about 40% of teenagers admit to sometimes reading texts while driving while just over 32% admit to sometimes sending texts while driving.  Texting and driving accidents are increasing at an alarming rate.

TEENS & DISTRACTED DRIVING – a problem on the rise

In the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study noted above, 1700 cars were equipped with videos that captured the actions of teen drivers and moments before they were involved in a car accident. In six out of 10 crashes teens were distracted by their cell phones (talking, texting, reading texts) as well as engaging with other teen passengers.

Teens were also noted involved in car accidents when they were looking at something outside of the vehicle, singing and dancing to music while driving, fixing their hair and makeup as well as reaching for an object within the vehicle.

The study showed un-disputable evidence that teen drivers were highly distracted in a much larger percentage then previously thought.

Teen drivers are among the most ask risk drivers on our roadways.  Due to their lack of experience driving combined with overconfidence or fear, they are at risk.  Car accidents remains the leading cause of death for teenagers, with the majority occurring when other teenagers are in the vehicle with a teen driver.  Teenagers often have an “it won’t happen to me” attitude, until sadly, it does.  This is why, if a teen texts and drives once or twice without consequence, they may continue to do so.  Unfortunately, any distracted driving puts themselves and other people at risk.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP YOUR TEEN STOP TEXTING AND DRIVING?

Our Hamilton car accident lawyers know all too well the catastrophic accidents that can occur as a result of distracted driving.  It is heartbreaking every time a person’s life is cut short or forever changed as a result of an car accident caused by distracted driving. This is why we believe it is important to continue to educate the public on the risks and dangers of texting and driving.

You can prevent a distracted driving car accident by ensuring your teen is not tempted by his or her phone while driving.  If your car has a stock navigation system, teach your teen how to use it properly using voice commands. Although stock navigation systems are somewhat glitchy with voice commands, they can be properly learned effectively.

Also, try money. Perhaps a reward every week to ensure your teen does not text while driving would be enticing. Sometimes bribing does in fact work. Perhaps there are apps that you could get such as the ones similar that insurance companies use to offer to adjust premiums based on proper and skillful driving. Even better, will your teen will give up his or her cell phone for cash while driving?

Also, since last year, the operating system for iPhones has a “do not disturb will driving” mode that locks the screen phone, blocks incoming texts and sends automatic text responses, and limits incoming phone calls. Make sure your teen’s iPhone operating system is up to date, and that the do not disturb function is active in working.

If all that does not work, then perhaps you can limit the conditions under which your teen can drive. Parents should think about letting their teens drive under risky conditions, at night, with other teens in the car, during bad weather and on high-speed roads. Keep your kids off the major highways and ensure an adult is with them every time they drive, for a certain amount of time after getting their driver’s license. In short, set limits that are actually stricter than the graduating driver’s license program mandated by the province.

If all else fails, by manual car. Although manual cars are becoming more and more rare, it’s pretty much impossible to text and drive if you using both hands to steer and shift the car.

Do teens learn bad texting and driving habits from their parents?

There’s no doubt the teens learn bad texting and driving habits from their parents.

In fact CNN reported on a survey of over 1700 teens, that distracted driving mostly by using and responding to text and the smart phones. Liberty mutual insurance took the study further and found that almost half of those teenagers learned their bad habits by observing their parents engaging in similar behaviours well driving their automobiles. Sometimes we think that checking our phones or reading a text at a red light, or using Google Maps or Waze can somehow seem like acceptable behaviour…but it’s not. The behaviour is similar to speeding. If mom or dad are prone to speeding, then are they legitimizing their actions for their children and in turn will their children see this as acceptable behaviour?

The best teacher for a teen driver is a good role model parent. Drive safely, put down the phone, demonstrate good positive driving behaviours  – all of which will be of influence to your teen drive.

WERE YOU OR A LOVED ONE INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT CAUSED BY A DISTRACTED DRIVER?

While there are serious fines and sanctions in place for novice drivers who are convicted of distracted driving (and other drivers as well), if you were injured because of a driver’s distracted driving, you have the right to start a personal injury claim to recovery the compensation you deserve. Matt Lalande has been representing victims of negligence and has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for his clients since 2003.  He works tirelessly to ensure his clients get the help they need, at the time they need it most.  Our  consultations are free and we never ask for upfront fees.  If you are a victim of a distracted driving accident, it is important you call us right away so we can help.  Get in touch at 905-333-8888 or fill in a contact form today.

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