Distracted driving is more than just a practice area at the law firm for me… it’s personal.
You see, my wife & I have 3 beautiful children. 2 of them are in high school. 1 just got her license and the other is a 14-year-old who’s almost ready to start driving.
I’ve watched my kids struggle, as yours probably do too, to ignore their phones going off at dinner or while talking. They get a text or notification and can’t help but look at their phones. It’s a conditioned response.
Watching their struggle, I can’t help but wonder if teens in general will be able to change this behavior to become safe drivers.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to share information about how to stay safe on the road.
Statistics About Teen Driving Safety
Even if you don’t have teens of your own, you know someone who does. Either way, you’re guaranteed to find teens driving on the road.
- Over 50% of teens ADMIT to using a phone while driving (we can only guess what the real number might be)
- More teens are involved in distracted driving crashes than any other age group
- The top actions leading to crashes in Virginia are rubbernecking, talking with passengers, adjusting the radio & texting
3 Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is broken down into 3 types:
If you’ve ever turned around to reach for something, you’ve been involved in manual distracted driving. This is when you take your hands off the wheel or feet off the pedals.
This is when you take your eyes off the road like when you’re rubbernecking, reading a billboard or looking at the radio to find a new station and lose focus on the road ahead.
Have you ever found yourself arriving at your destination and you’re not sure how you got there? Cognitive distracted driving takes place when your mind is somewhere else, like sometimes when you’re talking on the phone or to your passengers. Driving becomes a secondary task even if you don’t realize it’s happening.
Keep Distractions to a Minimum for Teens (and adults)
A few important reminders for teens driving in Virginia:
- Those with a learner’s permit, provisional or even a regular license under the age of 18 are completely banned from using a wireless device while driving
- This includes hands-free / bluetooth devices, texting and/or reading on your phone
- No more than 1 non-family teen passenger under age 21 during the 1st year of driving
- No more than 3 non-family teen passengers under 21 until the teen driver is 18
Help Stop Distracted Driving
Sure, a texting while driving conviction in Virginia carries a $125 fine for the first offense and a $250 fine for second or subsequent offenses.
But, fines aren’t really what we’re worried about.
No one wants to see teens or anyone else involved in a serious accident caused by distracted driving. Let’s teach others to help support safe driving by eliminating distractions and helping drivers focus on the road.
After all, no one’s life is worth a text message.
Data Sources: VA DMV, AAA