- Taylor Mock: “When teenagers ride with friends and their friends are texting, they can say, ‘Hey, will you please shut that off or will you please hand me your phone and I can answer the call for you or answer the text for you?’ Teens are the new generation with a strong voice. The more we continue to speak out about this issue, the more people, younger and older, will listen. We do have an impact on all ages.”
Set rules. It’s important to set family ground rules for texting and calling while driving. Your teen needs to know you have high expectations as well as what the consequences will be if the rules aren’t followed. Know where your teen is going, who he will be with, and what time he is expected home.
- Faith Mock: “I have set strict and clear rules for Taylor while simultaneously offering the logic behind those rules. She knows, for example, that if she were to be pulled over for speeding or distracted driving, she would lose her driving privileges until she could earn back my trust. And our expectations around communication have changed. Before becoming more knowledgeable about the dangers related to distracted driving, when I called Taylor I expected her to answer the phone. Now if I call, and she doesn’t answer, I know she is driving. I also know she will call me as soon as she arrives at her destination. And the reverse is true when she is trying to reach me. We’ve mutually set high expectations for each other.”
- Taylor Mock: “I know that the driving rules are very clear and they are very strict. I know that if I ever got a ticket for speeding or texting, my mother would take away my license my driving privileges for a really long time until I could earn her trust back. The driving rules are clear and strict and I obey them.”
Be a positive example. Model the behavior you want your teen to exhibit. If the phone rings while you’re driving, don’t answer it. Encourage your teen to answer your phone or text, allowing you to drive more safely. Speak up about distracted driving to your friends and peers in front of your teen driver. Help set an example, spread the word and save lives.
- Faith Mock: “If my phone rings when we are in the car, I ask Taylor to answer it. I don’t even consider driving distracted because I am her primary example. I also set an example by intentionally having her witness me speaking up about this issue to family and friends. I want Taylor to see how painless and rewarding using her voice to stand up for what she believes in can be.”
- Taylor Mock: “Teenagers can play a big part in this issue by not driving distracted themselves and setting an example for the friends who ride with them. A lot of teens I know are stepping up and saying, ‘No!’ and I know that a lot of younger children are telling their parents not to drive distracted either.”
Representing the voice of teens and parents involved in Project Ignition, Faith and Taylor have two more comments that illustrate how important the parent-teen relationship can be with respect to teen driving safety.
Faith says that she has only come to the realization how important safe driving is and how dangerous distracted driving is through Project Ignition. “When teens are telling teens to put away the phone and keep their eyes focused on the road, and parents are supporting that message, change will happen. And, as a long-time educator, I really believe that teens should and do have a voice in this national issue.”