For new teenage drivers in Florida, the anticipation of getting a driver’s license may be all they can think about. Listening to music in the car, transporting friends around and driving fast may interfere with remembering traffic laws.
The problem with music, friends, speed and a host of other factors is the risk of distraction. Teenagers who get distracted may unintentionally endanger their own lives and the lives of everyone around them.
While most people think of operating a cell phone when they hear the word, “distraction,” many behaviors can cause a motorist to look away from the road. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention name three types of distractions that include visual, manual and cognitive. Some examples include the following:
- Reading road signs
- Talking with passengers
- Listening to loud music
- Manipulating a phone or GPS
When teenage drivers receive adequate education about what distractions are and what makes them dangerous, they may have more incentive to avoid such behaviors.
Parents and educators uphold the responsibility of teaching teenagers about distracted driving. According to the News in Health newsletter, parents should lead by example. Regardless of the ages of their children, parents should put their phones away while driving and abide by traffic laws. They should speak with their children about how to be a good passenger as well. This education from an early age may effectively encourage teenagers to model such behavior when they begin driving themselves.
Parents may also consider creating a driving contract. This document will contain parental expectations, as well as consequences for non-compliance. Parents should set rules about topics including cell phone use, the number of passengers allowed in their child’s vehicle and curfews for driving. With expectations in place, teenagers and their parents can work together to reduce the risks of distracted driving.