Friday, January 1, 2010

TEEN TRENDS: TEENS + DRIVING + TEXTING = DANGER

(This blog is written to inform parents & others of disturbing trends of teenagers.)

Extensive research tells us that teen drivers are less likely to buckle up and more likely to speed and drive too fast in dangerous conditions. What is even more scary is that 56% of teens admit to texting while driving. This dangerous behavior has been termed Driving While Text - DWT.So you may be wondering: DUI...DWT - which is more dangerous?


FACTS:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol is more likely to result in a serious accident, but texting while driving is done more frequent among teens making an accident more likely to happen.

  • *"As opposed to cell phones, eating, smoking, and other activities done while driving, texting requires a combination of mental, visual, and emotional attention."

  • Because texting takes the driver's attention away from the road, researchers believe texting and driving is far more dangerous than drinking and driving.

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15 to 20 years old.

  • Almost 50% of teens admit to texting while driving, and even though 37% of teenagers believe texting while driving is distracting, they continue to send and receive text messages while behind the wheel.

  • Experts state that driving while texting is the same as driving with a .08 blood alcohol level (about 5 beers).

  • Accidents caused by distracted drivers increased to over one million in 2009.
RISKS OF DWT:
  • Teens can type a text message and send it without looking at their cell phones. This ease in texting may create a false sense of security while driving.
  • Teens usually text underneath the steering wheel while steering the vehicle with their knee, often while driving at excessive speeds.
  • Focusing on a cell phone even for a split second is long enough to cause an accident.
  • Teens can be impulsive, and they are less likely to delay responding to a text they receive, even while driving. Teens report various reasons for texting while driving, including the need to let their friends and parents know where they are and what they are doing, getting directions, and chatting with girlfriend/boyfriend.
  • Teens are often influenced by peer pressure, which can lead to riskier behavior.
  • Teens believe they are invincible and think "it won't happen to me".
  • Teens have had less time behind the wheel, so their response time is often slower, and they have more trouble recognizing dangerous conditions.
Legislators are attempting to make texting while driving illegal. Some states already have laws in place in an effort to reduce the number of accidents and deaths caused by texting while driving. But enforcement remains a problem, since it's difficult to see teen drivers texting. Teens have reported wearing sunglasses so police can't tell they are looking down.


Public service announcements, ads, and videos have been used to show the dangers of driving and texting. One very controversial public announcement video produced in the UK shows exactly what can happen when a teen texts while driving.

(This video is graphic.)














Even though this video is very graphic, I believe it should be shown to all teen drivers, so they can see the reality of what can happen if you text while driving.


WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?
  • According to a study performed by SADD/Liberty Mutual, the biggest influence on how teens drive is their parents. Almost two-thirds of teens say their parents talk on a cell phone while driving, one-half say their parents speed, and almost one-third say their parents don't wear a seatbelt.
  • Parents need to set a good example starting before their teen begins to drive.
  • Let your teen know that driving is a privilege that will be taken away if they break any driving rules you set. (According to the SADD/Liberty Mutual study, 52% of teens say their parents are unlikely to follow through on punishment if they drive and text, so they continue this dangerous activity.)
  • Talk to your teen about the dangers of texting and other distractions, and make your expectations known.
REMEMBER THAT MORE THAN 5,000 TEENAGERS AGE 15 TO 20 YEARS ARE KILLED IN CAR CRASHES EVERY YEAR. TALK TO YOUR TEEN OFTEN.


*http://www.webmd.com
*
http://www.cbc.com/



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25 comments:

Mass Hole Mommy said...

Very good information. It's scary what can happen!

The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

Honestly, this scares the heck out of me. And I bring it up FREQUENTLY. And its not only my son, its know so many kids are doing it - I worry about just being on the road.

Kathryn said...

Stopping by from SITS!

Just wanted to let you know about my button swap and the chance for your blog to be featured! Check it out:http://singing-in-the-rain24.blogspot.com/2009/12/button-swap.html

Kathryn said...

Thanks so much! Adding yours now! :) Have a wonderful day!

Confessions From A Working Mom said...

I work at a TV station, and we did countless stories about the dangers of DWT (no explanation needed for me!) over the past year (a statewide texting ban just went into effect here in December). We even had a reporter text while on a closed driving course, and she scored TERRIBLY. It really is so dangerous... thanks for the public awareness!

~Elizabeth
Confessions From A Working Mom

Brittany Ciara Sheets said...

Visiting from SITS! And Wow. Amazing blog filled with sooo much information! I was once in an accident (TWD wasn't at fault), but to this day I have nightmares about it. You can read about my accident here: http://t-driver.com/archives/newsletter/2009-10_v3i1.pdf on page 6. Teens now a days seem to text and drive more and more often. I thank God for my blackberry, because it has taught me to put the phone down and pay attention to driving. Thanks for posting!

Lucy postpartumillness.com said...

Another very informative post, thanks.

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Lindsay said...

Stopping by from SITS! Great (yet scary) information!

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

Good post--so important for parents to remember and teens to learn.

Paula said...

As of Jan 1 it is illegal to text and drive in IL
Stopping in from SITS

Jenny said...

Ok so here's the reality of what your thoughts are. I agree with you. Maybe we should show it to teens. But you know what? They won't listen. Some will. Some won't. They all think "oh it wont happen to me" so... showing them a vid won't do squat until they're in that same situation. Then they go "oops!"

Jenny said...

And that wasn't graphic :P I've seen worse. And grosser.

Cricket said...

I had a friend post this on FB for everyone on his friends' list. I think the graphic nature of the video is what's going to make a teenager sit down and notice. Maybe this this video will become viral.

Michele said...

Once again... a post that needed to be done.
Great job ~ very informative, and terribly disturbing.

Awareness about the dangers of texting NEEDS to be understood. So glad they are making it illegal!!!

Just wanted to say how much we all appriciate the hard work, dedication, and time you put into these informative posts.

You are one amazing lady!!

Karen said...

Here in California, the law is that phones can only be used with a hands free device while driving, and no one is allowed to text while driving. Anyone under age 18 is not allowed to use a mobile device AT ALL while driving, even if they are using a hands free device.

It's unfortunate how many people have the attitude that "it won't happen to me."

Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

Gayle Jackson said...

Thank you for the informative blog post. Though my tween isn't driving yet, texting is as bad as DUI...thanks, dropping by from SITS!

Gayle

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Danielle said...

I love your post! I wrote about this for our local newspaper not to long ago during our local teen driving safety week.
My husband is a volunteer fire fighter and since he joined in May, he has been to 3 fatal accidents, two of which were teens driving.

I think we need to take more responsibility over our children driving and let them know this is a serious issue!

Mad props!
Happy SITS!

Anonymous said...

Nice brief and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you on your information.

Peterson Family said...

Scary. Scary. I think teens today have access to too much stuff personally. I have been guilty of talking on my phone while driving, but I use the speakerphone. And that is distracting too.

Thanks for stopping by my SITS day.

Alex said...

Stopping by from SITS....

Thank you for posting this info. I don't have teens yet, but I do have a husband that text, emails, and reads emails while driving and I get very scared when he does this.

I hope more laws are passed to prevent this.

Rebecca said...

Good one!! Thanks for this. My husband is in law enforcement so we have seen the repercussion of teens and adults texting while driving. Thanks for getting more awareness out!
Stopping by from SITS. Have a great day.

kanishk said...

I thank God for my blackberry, because it has taught me to put the phone down and pay attention to driving. Thanks for posting!

Work from home India

Timothy Pelletier said...

Teenagers should be aware about safe driving and i think texting while driving can be very distracting. it is important that you avoid texting for safe driving.
Driving School Worcester

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