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Don't Text and Drive - Teen Driver Safety

You might have a rule about no cell phones at the dinner table, but how good is your teen at putting his or her phone away while driving? These bright little screens are one of the most dangerous driving distractions in the U.S., and sadly, 11 teens lose their lives each day across the country due to behind-the-wheel texting [1]. While this number might sound small to some, just think what it would mean if it were YOUR teen.

In 2010, Georgia lawmakers passed a law [Georgia Code, Title 40-6-241.1] that prohibits cell phone use by teen drivers under age 18 who hold a learner’s permit or Class D license. This includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Making or receiving phone calls (handheld and hands-free)
  • Reading or sending texts
  • Reading or sending emails
  • Pulling up music to listen to
  • Searching for addresses
  • Surfing the web
  • Anything that involves a cell phone behind the wheel!

Some Serious Statistics

  • A recent poll by AAA found that 94% of teen drivers in the U.S. acknowledged the dangers of texting and driving, but a whopping 35% admitted to doing it anyway [2].
  • Drivers under the age of 20 are the most distracted driving demographic on the road today, with over half of teens claiming that it’s easy to text behind the wheel [3]. But in reality, it’s not so easy.
  • Teens who text and drive end up spending 10% or more of their time outside their lane [4]

What Can You Do Right Now?

It’s time to have the conversation with your son or daughter about how to be a safe and mindful driver, and how putting away their cell phones can be a life-saving choice. Here is a real life story that is bound to make an impression with your teen:  Liz video

We don’t want your child to become a statistic, and we know you don’t either. Another important step you can take to protect your teen is to make a commitment to not text your child when you know he or she is driving. 

Print out and sign the Don’t Text & Drive Pledge together. It is helpful for both parents and teens to sign this to show their commitment to safe driving!

Tips to Help Discourage Texting & Driving:

As parents, we want to encourage responsible behavior from our teens, and being a good example is a great start. Set a “no texting and driving” family rule, and discuss the consequences regularly before getting in the car. Remind your teen that reading or sending texts – even when stopped at a stop light - is both illegal and unsafe.

Another idea to help us all be safer is to consider downloading one of the many smartphone apps that help prevent texting while driving. Some apps, like the ones listed below, block texting while driving, and others encourage you to drive safer.

Canary (For Android™ and iOS)

DriveMode(For Android™)

Drive Safe Mode (For Android™ and iOS)

Live2Txt (For Android™)

SafeDrive (For Android™ and iOS)

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

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

Additional Sources:

Governor's Office of Highway Safety: Protecting Teen Drivers

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Teen Drivers: Get the Facts

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute. Teenagers – Fatality Facts 2014. [cited 2016 July 18].

Available at URL: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/teenagers/fatalityfacts/teenagers/2014

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Traffic Safety Culture index 2011. [cited 2016 May 10]

Available at URL:  https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2011TSCI.pdf

Department of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis. Traffic Safety Facts. Research Note: Distracted Driving 2013. Washington (DC); April 2015. [cited 2016 March 25].

Available at URL: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812132.pdf

DoSomething.org. “11 Facts about Texting and Driving”. [cited 2016 March 25].

Available at URL: https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-fact-about-texting-and-driving

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute. Teenagers – Fatality Facts 2014. [cited 2016 July 18].

Available at URL: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/teenagers/fatalityfacts/teenagers/2014

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Traffic Safety Culture index 2011. [cited 2016 May 10]

Available at URL:  https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2011TSCI.pdf

Department of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis. Traffic Safety Facts. Research Note: Distracted Driving 2013. Washington (DC); April 2015. [cited 2016 March 25].

Available at URL: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812132.pdf

DoSomething.org. “11 Facts about Texting and Driving”. [cited 2016 March 25].

Available at URL: https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-fact-about-texting-and-driving


References

1

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute. Teenagers – Fatality Facts 2014. [cited 2016 July 18].

Available at URL: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/teenagers/fatalityfacts/teenagers/2014

2

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Traffic Safety Culture index 2011. [cited 2016 May 10]

Available at URL:  https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2011TSCI.pdf

3

Department of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis. Traffic Safety Facts. Research Note: Distracted Driving 2013. Washington (DC); April 2015. [cited 2016 March 25].

Available at URL: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812132.pdf

4

DoSomething.org. “11 Facts about Texting and Driving”. [cited 2016 March 25].

Available at URL: https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-fact-about-texting-and-driving