Really, really bad news on the teen texting and driving front. A new study out of the University of Michigan found that teenage drivers texted, on average, 26 more times while behind the wheel than their parents ever expected. The researchers interviewed over 5,500 teens and parents, the largest study of its kind, and found that 26 percent of teens admitted to reading or sending a text message at least once while driving, while only 1 percent of parents answered that they thought their teen would do such a thing.
But wait, it gets worse. (Then it gets better, promise.)
One in five teens, or 20 percent, owned up to having extended, multi-message text conversations while driving. Gulp.
With car crashes the leading cause of death among American teenagers, we gotta do something to stop all the "LOL", "OMG", "Where u at" messaging while they're in the driver's seat of a deadly weapon.
The safe driving ad campaign is a start. Those commercials, especially the one that features a teenage boy who suffered severe brain damage after a car accident that occurred as a result of his texting and driving, are very powerful. But researchers say the most effective way to get teens to stop this deadly behavior is to set a good example.
The study found:
Teens who think their parents are distracted drivers, eating while driving, looking for things, or focusing on passengers and passenger behavior, are much more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors themselves.
Sounds like the best thing we can do is to drive safely, ourselves.
It's a win win if I've ever heard one -- parents drive safely so that our teens may drive safely. Simple enough, right?
But hey, if you need some motivation to keep your hands at ten and two and eyes on the road so that your teen might do the same, this short, 10-minute documentary below about texting and driving related deaths should do the trick. Very scary stuff. Very.
How do you talk to your teen about the dangers of texting and driving?
Photo via MrJasonWeaver/Flickr
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside