This past week, a study released in the journal Pediatrics
revealed that teens who texted while driving were more likely to engage in other risky behaviors while driving, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or not buckling their seatbelts.
The study said that in 2011, nearly half of all students 16 years and older reported texting or emailing while driving in the past 30 days. Additionally, teens who texted while driving every day during the past month were more than 40 percent more likely to not always wear a seatbelt and five times more likely to drive under the influence of alcohol.
Children’s National Health System’s Division Chief of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine Lawrence D’Angelo, MD, MPH, advises parents to have written rules for their teens. His tips include:
- No teen driver should carry more passengers than allowed by law. If your state doesn’t have a passenger limit law, here is a good guide: there should be no passengers for the first 6 months (other than family), one passenger for the next year, and never more than 3 passengers
- No cell phone use while driving, including Bluetooth phones, unless the car is stopped and pulled to the side of the road
- No texting
- No excessively loud music
Make sure violations of your written rules carry penalties up to and including license suspension. Also, stress to your kids the risk of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Impaired driving is one of the leading causes of death in teens.
And don’t forget to practice what you preach: modeling safe driving habits yourself is very important.
Here are some more tips
for teen drivers.