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Distracted Driving - Teen Driver Safety

You probably know how hard it is to get your teenager to put down their phone! Using their smart phone at the dinner table is one thing, but on the road is a whole other matter. Car crashes are the leading cause of death among teens in the U.S., and this age group is the most likely to be distracted behind the wheel according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Distraction.gov, respectively.

There are so many things vying for your teen’s attention every minute, and sadly sometimes they don’t stop to put the phone away when they get into the driver’s seat. Over a quarter of teen drivers admit to reading and responding to one or more texts while driving.

The good news is that many states have put laws in place that will better protect young drivers behind the wheel. In Georgia, ALL cell phone use is prohibited for novice drivers under 18 years old while operating a vehicle [1]. But distracted driving goes far beyond cell phones. Anything that takes your attention away from your driving considerably increases your risk of getting into an accident, and this risk is amplified in teen drivers [2].

According to a crash study by the AAA Foundation [3], the top factors associated with crashes involving drivers under the age of 20 were: 

  • Interacting with other passengers – 15%
  • Cell phone use – 12%
  • Looking at something inside the vehicle – 10%
  • Looking at something outside the vehicle – 9%
  • Singing/dancing along with music – 8%
  • Grooming/makeup/hair – 6%
  • Reaching for an object – 6%

Other studies have confirmed the dangers of teens riding with multiple passengers. A teen driver is 4x more likely to get into an accident when there are 3 or more teenage passengers in the vehicle [4]. That is why Georgia’s TADRA law restricts the number of passengers that novice drivers are permitted to transport. To view the complete TADRA law and restrictions click here.

Distractions are everywhere, and teenagers are especially susceptible to them while behind the wheel. It’s important that we all work together to keep our kids and other young drivers safe on Georgia roads. Here at iRideSafe™, we have lots of helpful safe driving videos and handouts that you can use to talk to your teen. It’s important to set good ground rules when they are learning how to drive. Encourage your son or daughter to:

  • Keep their music to a low enough level where they can hear other drivers’ horns, emergency sirens, and pedestrians.
  • Put their cell phone away completely where it is out of reach while driving
  • Ride with fewer friends in the car, or have an adult present.
  • Avoid eating while driving.
  • Come to a complete stop before reaching for something.
  • Pull over and park if they need to make an important call or text.

 Here in Georgia, the graduated driver’s licensing program TADRA requires new drivers to prove their skills and earn driving privileges. There are driving curfews, restrictions on passengers and other protective measures to ensure your teenager practices and learns safe driving techniques.

Joshua’s Law

On or after January 1, 2007, any 16 year old who obtains an initial Class D license must have completed:

  • A driver education course approved by the Department of Driver Services and
  • A cumulative total of at least forty (40) hours of other supervised driving experience, including at least six (6) hours at night.

Encourage your child to take a no-distraction pledge, and always remember to model good driving behavior when you are behind the wheel.

The CDC has created a helpful Parent-Teen Driving Agreement that you can download here. The pledge makes driving expectations clear and is a good reminder of the hazards to avoid and the consequences for breaking the rules.

For more information regarding state laws in Georgia, click here:

http://ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/bystate/ga.html

Governor’s Office of Highway Safety: Georgia (GOHS). Georgia’s Texting Laws. The Latest Information on Texting While Driving. July 2010. [cited 2016 March 25].

Available at URL: http://www.gahighwaysafety.org/highway-safety/texting-laws/

Distraction.gov, Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving. “What is Distracted Driving?” Washington (DC). [cited 2016 March 25].

Available at URL: http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html

AAA Foundation for Traffic Study. Using Naturalistic Driving Data to Assess the Prevalence of Environmental Factors and Drivers Behaviors in Teen Driver Crashes. Washington (DC). 2015 March [cited 9 May 2016].

Available at URL: https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2015TeenCrashCausationReport.pdf

AAA Foundation for Traffic Study. Teen Driver Risk in Relation to Age and Number of Passengers. Washington (DC). 2012 May [cited 9 May 2016].

Available at URL: https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2012TeenDriverRiskAgePassengers.pdf

Governor’s Office of Highway Safety: Georgia (GOHS). Georgia’s Texting Laws. The Latest Information on Texting While Driving. July 2010. [cited 2016 March 25].

Available at URL: http://www.gahighwaysafety.org/highway-safety/texting-laws/

Distraction.gov, Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving. “What is Distracted Driving?” Washington (DC). [cited 2016 March 25].

Available at URL: http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html

AAA Foundation for Traffic Study. Using Naturalistic Driving Data to Assess the Prevalence of Environmental Factors and Drivers Behaviors in Teen Driver Crashes. Washington (DC). 2015 March [cited 9 May 2016].

Available at URL: https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2015TeenCrashCausationReport.pdf

AAA Foundation for Traffic Study. Teen Driver Risk in Relation to Age and Number of Passengers. Washington (DC). 2012 May [cited 9 May 2016].

Available at URL: https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2012TeenDriverRiskAgePassengers.pdf


References

1

Governor’s Office of Highway Safety: Georgia (GOHS). Georgia’s Texting Laws. The Latest Information on Texting While Driving. July 2010. [cited 2016 March 25].

Available at URL: http://www.gahighwaysafety.org/highway-safety/texting-laws/

2

Distraction.gov, Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving. “What is Distracted Driving?” Washington (DC). [cited 2016 March 25].

Available at URL: http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html

3

AAA Foundation for Traffic Study. Using Naturalistic Driving Data to Assess the Prevalence of Environmental Factors and Drivers Behaviors in Teen Driver Crashes. Washington (DC). 2015 March [cited 9 May 2016].

Available at URL: https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2015TeenCrashCausationReport.pdf

4

AAA Foundation for Traffic Study. Teen Driver Risk in Relation to Age and Number of Passengers. Washington (DC). 2012 May [cited 9 May 2016].

Available at URL: https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2012TeenDriverRiskAgePassengers.pdf