Imagine you're riding in the car with your teenage daughter, and she is texting-while-driving. Every other minute it's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or a text message. Would you call your daughter out and ask her to put the phone away, or would you grin and bear it even though the behavior could potentially cause a fatal accident?
If you're like most reasonable parents, you'd probably take your daughter's phone away if you saw her texting while driving. At the very least, you would demand that she stop using her smartphone while driving. Not only is it unlawful for teenagers to text and drive behind the wheel in Missouri, but if a teen causes an injurious or fatal accident, the behavior could result in serious criminal and financial consequences for your teen.
Some facts and figures about teen texting and driving
Here are some facts and figures that should inspire parents to be as strict as possible with their teens when it comes to texting while driving:
- Car accidents are the top cause of death for Americans between the ages of 15 and 25.
- Forty-three percent of teens admit to texting-while-driving.
- Checking a phone while driving triples the likelihood of getting into a collision.
- It takes approximately five seconds to send a text message. At a speed of 55 mph, it takes five seconds to drive the distance of a football field.
- Just 44 percent of teenagers say they'd ask the driver of a car to stop texting.
- Teenagers account for 13 percent of fatalities that happen as a result of distracted driving.
- Teenagers are considered high-risk drivers by insurance companies automatically. Adding just one teen driver with a clean driving record to a policy will skyrocket a parent's insurance costs by as much as 100 percent.
- Some insurance companies offer discounts to teenagers with good grades and good driving records.
- Completing a defensive driving course will also teach teens to not text and drive, and in some cases, insurance companies will lower a teen's car insurance costs.
Are you ready to have the distracted driving talk with your adolescent son or daughter?
Missouri parents who haven't already had a distracted driving talk with their teens should do so immediately. Addressing the issue directly will, in most cases, help children understand the risks associated with this dangerous behavior. It will also help your teen avoid becoming criminally and financially liable for distracted driving by preventing the threat of this kind of crash.