Texting while driving, by Flickr user ericathompson
One second may not seem like much, but during that time a vehicle traveling 65 mph can go the length of a basketball court. “That extra second can mean the difference between managed risk and tragedy for any driver,” said Kissinger.
In total, some 7,858 video clips were analyzed for the current study. A sampling of some of the most relevant, and frightening, clips are available for viewing on the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety website. Parents should be particularly focused on Texting at Traffic Light and Again While Driving, Cell Phone Driver at School Bus Stop, and Joy Ride on Dirt.
What parents can do
While the results of this study may be slightly disturbing to parents of newly-licensed teen drivers, there are still things Mom and Dad can do to help their teens.
“We know that state laws have certain provisions for parents having to supervise their teens during the learner’s permit phase, and that’s a great start,” said Bruce Hamilton, research and education coordinator at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “But we also want to ensure that parents are staying involved with their teens through the entire learning process and serving as mentors and supervisors for their teens throughout the months and years that they’re under their roof and that they’re learning to drive.”
Hamilton added that one of the things that this study shows is that these distractions and incidents were really low when parents and other adults were in the car and that they can do a great job of creating a safe in-car environment for their teens. “The problem is that once the teens are unsupervised, because legally, they can be, we almost never see parents or other adults in the car again. One of the things we’d like to stress is that just because the teen can drive unsupervised. doesn’t mean that the parent has to step out of the vehicle and stop participating in the learning process
“The six months of the learner’s permit is great, but teens have many years that they need to be getting experience under their belt to become safe drivers.”
Bottom line: The more that parents can stay involved and be supervising and be actively engaged in the learning process, the better.
To see the full report, Distracted Driving Among Newly Licensed Teen Drivers, click here.