Teen Driver Texting On The Rise

In a study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), teen drivers continue to text while driving by their own admission. More than 2,000 students participated in the survey with 59 percent believing that the practice is distracting and dangerous. Most of us reading this article (if not all), are guilty of using a mobile device while driving. Even though this study represents 41 percent of these teen drivers stating that they do not text while driving, the percentage is likely higher.

Additional percentages of distractions discovered as part of the study:

• 73 percent operating an iPod or MP3 player
• 67 percent talking on a cell phone while driving
• 13 percent access their internet web browser on their smart phone
• 13 percent update their social network site
• 10 percent take pictures or videos with their cell phones
• 4 percent use an iPad or tablet PC

The above distractions are alarming considering the function and responsibility of basic safety practices behind the wheel. These distractions only exacerbate the dangers facing teen drivers today. Unfortunately, statistics show that driving accidents are the number one cause of death for the 16 – 19 year old age group. October 16 – 22 is identified as National Teen Driver Safety Week. This annual program is designed to focus awareness on teen driver safety and is promoted by law enforcement agencies and advocacy groups alike. Parents are encouraged during this week by these agencies to help reinforce positive driving habits. But are parents part of the problem? The surprising statistic in this study is not the percentage of teen drivers that text but who they are texting while behind the wheel.

According to the participants, 63 percent of teen drivers state that they regularly receive and return text messages and calls from parents while driving. It is clear that parents play an active role in their children’s lives. Because of this, they want to know their whereabouts. What they do not realize is that they are actually contributing to the problem.

Real-time GPS Tracking Provides Parents Oversight While Maintaining Safety

Real-time GPS tracking has been around for 20 years. However, recent improvements in communications and microprocessor technology make real-time GPS tracking a cost-effective and positive reinforcement tool. Parents now have the ability to immediately locate their teen driver with a simple click of a button. Continuous updates as fast as every three (3) seconds provides live monitoring as well as a detailed historical record. Speed and location alerts can also serve to reinforce the rules of the road and help set responsibility boundaries.

With real-time GPS tracking, parents to identify the whereabouts of their teen driver without reducing the margin of safety behind the wheel. Waiting for the vehicle to arrive at a destination or identify as a “stop” before calling is a wise choice.

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