Texting and Driving: 5 Useful Guidelines for Teaching Your Teen

Texting while driving puts yourself and others in harm.

Ten million people are involved in car accidents every year. Sadly, automobile accidents are the leading cause of death among teens 13 through 19 according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Now, the distraction of cellphones, texting, and internet surfing has made the roads even more dangerous. As a matter of fact, did you know you are three times more likely to crash while texting? The last thing new teen drivers need is distractions from the road. But how do you get your teenager to make the right choice when it comes to texting and driving? Here are a few words of advice:

How to Keep Your Teen from Texting and Driving

#1. Talk to Your Teen About the Consequences of Cellphone Usage and Driving. Make sure your teen knows what can happen on the road while using their cellphone: accidents, injuries, death, traffic tickets, and higher insurance premiums. Show them statistics of motor vehicle accidents and cell phone usage. In this case, scare tactics may be necessary. Advise them to keep their cellphone in their purse or glove compartment until they get to their destination. If they need to use GPS, make sure they have a GPS mount so they can drive hands-free.

#2. Be Clear on Rules for Cellphone Use While Driving. Set your own house rules around cell phone usage while driving. It is fair to tell your teen that they will lose driving privileges if they don’t follow your driving rules, including using their cell phone while driving. Just make sure you provide them with the exact consequences, and follow through on your word if they fail to comply.

#3. Be the Example. You, the parent, should set the example for your children by not texting and driving. More than three-fourths of teen drivers who text while driving report that their parents do the same. Parents should also avoid calling or texting their child when you know they are en route somewhere. You may be the cause of an accident if you do.

#4. Install a Text App on Your Teen’s Phone. For parents who need extra reassurance, there are apps like TXT Shield or TextLimit App that will not allow texting on the phone once you reach a certain speed.

Parents, if you’d like to read more about teenager development, check out Hospitality Health ER’s series on Raising a Well-Rounded Teenager: Parts I, II, III, and IV.