Are You a Parent? Do you text when you drive?
Most adults know that the “right” answer to that question is an unencumbered no, and most parents would make that an emphatic “no,” as in “I don’t text and drive, and you, child of mine, shouldn’t either.” That’s the message that comes from everyone these days. Big corporate sponsors of no text efforts from Verizon to AT&T are spending millions in educating the dangers of texting while driving. As parents, we have as much influence as any single message or marketing campaign could ever dream of. So are we setting the right example, sending the correct message to our children when we are in the car with them?
A recent survey from Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions finds teenagers outing parents for “do as I say, not as I do” hypocrisy.
- 59 percent of teenagers reported seeing their parents text and drive.
Is our answer to that question really more qualified than we admit? No, except on a really quiet road. No, except at stoplights and then just for those last few characters after. No, except … when I do. You get the idea. Exceptions however have tragic consequences. Texting related accidents and deaths were up by double digits in Springfield according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
The teenagers in this national survey reported that their parents engaged in a variety of unsafe or distracted driving behaviors, from drinking water and soft drinks to talking on their mobile phone.
- 91 percent of teenagers say their parents talk on the phone while driving.
The argument that blue-tooth or hands-free technology is safe is a myth. Research shows that even a hands-free mobile phone conversation significantly slows driver response time.
- 78 percent of teenagers reported texting while driving themselves; 27 percent often or very often, 24 percent sometimes, 28 percent at least rarely. Only 22 percent even pretended to reach that highly desirable “never.”
I believe that children are learning to drive long before we as parents think they do. They absorb our behaviors and actions when we drive and have been going to the driving school of mom and dad for a long time before they are able to get their permit. How as parents are we to expect them to do anything other than what we’ve been teaching them?
Showcase Distracted Driving to Your Child
As a parent I wanted to demonstrate to my teenager (at the time) how distracting texting and driving can be, so I asked them to describe the road around them while, in the passenger seat, trying to send a text or dial a number.
Technology Does Not Solve Texting While Driving Car Accidents
Although there are apps on the market like SafeTexting for Android phones which prevents texting while in a moving vehicle, and can be turned off by passengers, or Hatchback, an iPhone app that makes a game of completing trips without texts, I personally thing trying to outsource this issue to technology is the wrong path. As parents we must stay involved, we must get involved with our teens and make sure to check and recheck that our kids are practicing safe driving habits while behind the wheel.
So from all of us at Ransin Injury Law, I would like to encourage you to please Stop Driving While Intexticated. Be a role model for your kids when you are behind the wheel and practice what you preach. Too many young teenage drivers are causing serious injuries to themselves and others because they are texting while driving or driving distracted. Together we can make a difference and help keep Missouri’s roadways safer.