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Put the phone away and stress safe driving with your teens

Published in Trauma Services, Pediatrics, For the Health of It Author: Joseph Mahoney,MD Author: Joseph K. Mahoney, MD

Stellis Health — Monticello Clinic

New and inexperienced drivers have a lot to concentrate on when getting behind the wheel. Texting plans for the evening or responding to messages from friends should be the furthest thing from their minds. Texting while driving is dangerous and can lead to fatal outcomes.

More than 3,000 teenagers die every year from texting and driving, yet more than 50 percent of teenagers admit to texting a driving. That is why it is extremely important to review the statistics with your new driver to help them understand that one text can change their life forever.

  • In 2013, texting took over as the leading cause of driving-related death among teenagers — surpassing drinking and driving.
  • Texting and driving is six times more dangerous than drinking and driving.
  • When you text and drive, you increase your chances of a crash 23 times more likely.
  • It takes a minimum of five seconds for texting. At 55 miles per hour that is driving an entire football field length without looking where you are going.
  • At least 25 percent of all auto collisions involved cell phones.

Currently, in Minnesota, it is against the law to text while driving. It also is against the law for novice drivers to use cell phones at all. You can be pulled over for that reason alone.

Here are some solutions to help parents work with their new driver to keep them and others safe on the road.

  1. Parents need to be role models, so they should not use their cell phones in the car. Forty-eight percent of kids have seen their parents talk on a mobile device and 15 percent have seen their parents texting while driving.
  2. Parents can use drive cams to see if their teens are using their phones.
  3. There are apps available for parents to install on their teen’s phone that can cut off texting during drive time, send automated responses to incoming texts or allow parents to see their new driver’s cell phone use in real time. Drivesafe Mode and Drivemode are two apps available for all smartphones.
  4. Taking the text free driving pledge at