1. Have a conversation
The simple act of sitting down with your teenagers and discussing the dangers of texting while driving sends a strong message. As you discuss this try to help them understand the consequences and don’t be subtle. Explain that people die every year because of distracted driving and possibly share a specific example that you’ve found in the paper or online. You can also share some of the shocking distracted driving facts that can be found at distraction.gov. In addition to the physical dangers of texting and driving, you should also explain that it is illegal and could result in serious legal trouble if they are noticed by a police officer.
2. Set firm rules
Nothing will tell your teenager that you are serious about not texting and driving like a firm family rule. You can make a rule that the cell phone should be kept in the back seat of the car or in the pockets at all times while in the driver’s seat. This boundary is a lot clearer than simply saying that they should not texting while driving. Most teens claim that they ‘rarely’ text while driving but they should know that it only takes one time to be killed or seriously injured. If they know that they can’t even look at their phone while stopped at a stop light they will quickly drop any dangerous cellphone habits they may have had.
3. Set an example
No matter how many times you tell your children that they should never drive and text, if they see you doing it they will as well. Remember that it is just as dangerous for you as it is for them. If you have set firm rules as a family you should also follow them as well.
4. Download some helpful apps for their smart phone
If you fear that your children are still using their cellphones while behind the wheel you can download a number of helpful apps onto their phone that will prevent them from using it while driving. Some apps like the key2safedriving app and Sprint Drive First app (available only to Sprint subscribers) detect the movements of driving and do not allow text messages to be sent. Other apps allow the parent to monitor where messages are being sent and even allow you to set no-texting zones i.e. at school.
5. Monitor their habits
Pay attention to your children’s habits while in the car. When you are driving together let them drive every so often. This will give you a chance to see how they act behind the wheel. Your kids will try to prove that they are responsible drivers but if they are still in the habit of texting and driving they will probably reach for their phone out of without thinking if they receive a text.
Another good pre-emptive measure is to educate yourself and your teen drivers about what to do in case of an accident. Don’t be a victim of insurance companies whose only real interest is protecting their bottom line. Be empowered, and empower your friends and family by ordering the free Utah accident book, 7 Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Utah Accident Case from the personal injury attorneys at Christensen & Hymas by calling 1-800-LAW-BOOK or filling in this form.
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