Presented by Jason J. Guari, Esq.
We’ve all seen it – it’s drivers talking on the phone or texting, crossing lanes, stopping short, or not moving forward when a light changes – Let’s face it, some of us may be guilty of it ourselves – It’s Inattentive or Distracted Driving.
Whether texting, talking on a cell phone, grooming, changing the radio, eating and drinking, reading or writing, or talking with passengers – Distracted or Inattentive Driving plays a key part in one out of every four motor vehicles crashes.
Distraction.gov states that Distracted Driving is a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways. In 2010 alone, over 3,000 people were killed in Distracted Driving crashes. A National Safety Council Report states that an estimated 1.6 million crashes are caused each year in the U.S. by drivers who talk (1.4 million crashes) and text (200,000 crashes) on cell phones.
Basically there are three types of distractions – Visual, Cognitive & Manual. These can take your:
- Eyes off the road (Visual)
- Mind off the road (Cognitive)
- Or hands off the steering wheel (Manual)
As parents we must set an example by following safe driving habits. Teenage drivers are more likely than other age groups to be involved in a fatal crash where a distraction is reported. Parents are a powerful influence on their children and the type of driver they will become.
A National Young Driver Survey shows that teens with involved parents who set rules and monitor them:
- Are twice as likely to wear seat belts
- Are 70 percent less likely to drink and drive
- Are half as likely to speed
- And are 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone while driving
While a lack of driving experience continues to play a major role in teen injuries and fatalities, many teens do not believe they are inexperienced or do not realize the consequences of their actions (driving habits and decision making). Many teenagers have a sense of immortality and invincibility. Parental reinforcement of good decision making can lead to safe driving habits that will last a lifetime.
Unfortunately, current Florida Preemption Law prohibits localities from enacting distracted driving bans. That means it is up to parents to take a leading role. We encourage you to talk to your teen about driving dangers, setting rules and understanding consequences. This also includes signing a Parent-Teen Driving Contract (visit distraction.gov).
Before your teen leaves the house, please ask the following important questions:
- Where are you going?
- Who is driving?
- Who will be with you in the car?
- Where will you be stopping?
- When will you be home?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And most importantly, you must stress that there is to be no drinking. Set a code that allows your teen to contact you or a trusted adult for any reason. The important thing is to ensure your child gets home safely.
If you have any questions regarding distracted driving or auto accidents, please contact me at (561) 366-9099 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.