The Issues of Texting While Driving.

For teenagers and young people, learning to drive is their chance to gain their independence and discover the world more easily. However, recent research has shown that young female drivers are now just as dangerous behind the wheel as their male counterparts, particularly when it comes to texting while driving.

The rise of WhatsApp and other instant messaging services has made texting one of the most common forms of communication. Group chats can see dozens of messages sent in a matter of minutes, which makes youngsters feel like they are missing out if they are not reading and responding to these messages.

Young females are more likely to embrace this form of communication and are regularly in contact with their friends, even while driving. Texting when driving creates an obvious problem, with users required to use their hands and eyes, which means they are not watching the road ahead or have full control of the vehicle.

Despite this, many teens overlook these risks and continue to text and drive. A joint study by Liberty Mutual Ins. And Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) found that nearly 50% of teen drivers admitted that they text while driving.

SADD suggested that to try and correct this habit, parents should make it clear that texting and using a phone while driving is unacceptable. To further clarify the seriousness of this habit, parents should also enforce strict punishment for noncompliance.

The actions of parents are crucial in helping to reduce the number of teens who are texting while driving; however, it is not the only risk that teens face. Parents of young drivers should ensure that it is their main priority that their children are operating the car as safely and responsibly as possible.

A further study by Students Against Destructive Decisions and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company further enforced the importance parents play in developing safe driving habits. In a survey of roughly 1,700 drivers, the joint study found that teen driving habits were directly influenced by their parents, and many would drive in a similar style to their parents.

The survey found that young drivers pick up a wide range of bad driving habits from their parents, including:

  • Texting
  • Using their smartphone
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or narcotics
  • Not wearing a seatbelt
  • Speeding

In addition, further research by SAAD indicated that up to two-thirds of young drivers considered their parents as their main influence when it came to driving. This means that parental expectations of their children’s driving habits will only be truly effective if they follow those safe driving techniques themselves.

So if you are the parent of teen drivers (or future drivers!), then the best way to ensure they drive safely and without distractions is to model that behavior yourself.

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