Learning to drive is an exciting development in any teenager’s life. However, a lack of experience combined with peer pressure can produce a deadly combination when young drivers get behind the wheel in Tennessee.
Parents play a significant role in educating their children about the dangers of distracted driving. Through their own example and an active, hands-on approach to monitoring their teenagers’ habits, parents can help instill responsible driving behaviors from the start.
Age is a risk factor
While most people can admit to driving distracted at some point during their life, teenagers face a higher risk because of factors including age and inexperience. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one study reported that nine percent of teen fatalities from car accidents involved distracted driving.
Another study revealed that in the year 2019, 39 percent of surveyed teenagers admitted to sending texts or emails within the last 30 days of driving. To make already-risky behavior even more dangerous, studies show that teenagers who are more likely to drive distracted are also less likely to wear a seatbelt.
A parent’s role
The most important teaching tool parents can use is their example. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that parents begin teaching responsible driving to their young children. Parents should refrain from using their cellphone, eating or listening to loud music while driving to make teaching these concepts more relatable once their children reach driving age.
Experts also suggest that parents develop expectations and driving standards for their teenagers. Discussion of these concepts should occur frequently and teenagers should understand the consequences for their failure to abide by the rules. Parents should spend adequate time driving with their teenagers to reinforce the concepts taught in a driver’s education course.