The statistics about texting and driving tell a clear story: it’s dangerous. Almost 330,000 injuries a year are caused by texting and driving. For teenagers, the news is even scarier: 11 teens die every day because of texting and driving. And although almost all teens acknowledge the dangers of texting and driving, more than a third of them admit to doing it anyway. So how can you discourage the teenager in your life from engaging in this risky behavior? Here are some tips that will help you keep your teen safe behind the wheel.
Know Your State Laws (And Use Them)
There’s a very good chance that your state laws are on your side. Most states have rules prohibiting drivers from texting. And for teenage drivers, the laws can be even stricter—more than half of states bar teens from any cell phone use while driving.
By themselves, these laws might not be a powerful motivating force to get your teen to put the phone down. But as the parent, you control the car keys. Make it clear that you’re not going to wait for an accident; if your teen gets a ticket for texting and driving, you’ll restrict their access to the car. The odds are good that your teen wants to be able to drive more than they want to be able to text while they drive.
Make Sure You’re Not Sending Mixed Messages
Most teens won’t admit it, but they do pay attention to their parents when they’re looking for cues for their own behavior. That means that you have to set a good example. It’s not just teens that text and drive: 49% of adults admit to doing it as well. “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work well with teenagers. If you don’t want your teens to text and drive, make sure you’re not doing it either.
You should also be careful about when you call or text your teen. Your teen may feel pressure to answer or text back as soon as they hear from you. Don’t call them when you know they’re going to be driving, and let them know that while you do want to keep in touch, they’ll never be in trouble for waiting until the car is parked before calling or texting you back.
Make Use of Technology to Track Your Teen’s Texting Habits
While talking with your teen is important, it’s important to keep in mind that teenagers do still need oversight. You don’t have to be in the passenger seat every time they get behind the wheel, but you do need to know what they’re up to while they’re driving.
Luckily, technology makes it much easier these days to keep some of your control over what your teens are doing. Some apps can block text messages while your teen is driving, and some new cars even have a feature that blocks texts and calls. If you have parental monitoring software on your teen’s phone, you can see when your teens are texting, so if you see text messages being sent during the time of your teen’s commute to school, you’ll know that it’s time to go over the rules again.
Parental monitoring software is an important tool in keeping your teen safe. To find out how it can work for you, get our free trial.