Research on distracted driving reveals some surprising facts: it's as bad as driving drunk.
Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it's hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)
Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. (Source: Carnegie Mellon)
80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of near crashes involve some type of distraction. (Source: Virginia Tech 100-car study for NHTSA)
Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver, and more than half a million were injured. (NHTSA)
The worst offenders are the youngest and least-experienced drivers: men and women under 20 years of age. (NHTSA)
Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
What can parents do about distracted driving?
Tell your kid, you want your teen to be safe because you love them, and it would break your heart if they were involved in a distracted driving crash.
Talk to your teen. Tell your teen driver about the devastating consequences of distracted driving. They won't think it can happen to them, but it can. Know the facts and share it with them. Engage your teens in a dialogue about the problem.
Know the law. Many Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws have cell phone and texting bans for your drivers. Make sure you and your teen driver know the law and that your teen driver adheres to the rules. In addition to the consequences that you have set at home, if your teen violates the GDL law they could have their license delayed or suspended.
Set rules to keep your teens from driving while distracted. Check the cell phone log on the bill, and create serious consequences if they break the rules. Then follow through if they do break the rules.