For high school students, spring is full of milestones – spring break trips, prom, and graduation being highlights that students and their parents look forward to. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it’s also one of the most dangerous times for teens on the road. Texting, underage drinking, and other distractions lead to tragedies that can be avoided through education and communication.
We all know the dangers of drinking and driving, and using a cell phone while driving delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. Sending or receiving text messages takes the driver’s eyes off of the road for 4.6 seconds and makes the driver 23 times more likely to get into a crash, according to distraction.gov. How do we keep our teens from driving dangerously?
To start, download apps such as AT&T’s DriveMode or DriveSmart from the Android market. When enabled, your phone will automatically respond to incoming texts with a message letting others know you’re on the road, and that you’ll respond when it’s safe.
A large amount of adults are guilty of texting while driving – 27% of adults admit to doing so, according to textingndriving.com. Keep yourself safe and be a positive example for your child by putting the phone away while driving.
Most importantly, communicate with your child. Find a time to explore the distraction.gov website and watch videos from The Faces of Drunk Driving to let your child know how real the dangers of texting while driving are.
UNDERAGE DRINKING AND DRIVING
According to the NHTSA, 28% of teen drivers killed in car accidents were drinking before or while driving. Parents shouldn’t need to be reminded that underage drinking is illegal, and can bring high consequences to parents who provide it. A government survey found that 69% of underage drinkers didn’t pay for their alcohol – as in, they got it from family or friends (though some may have been taken without permission).
Especially during prom and graduation parties, it is vital to communicate the risks to your children of drinking and drunk driving. For more information on talking to your teen, preventing underage drinking, and facts about the problem, visit We Don’t Serve Teens. The site also features stories of real-life consequences to adults who provide teens with alcohol.
Parents can be under as much peer pressure as their kids to be “cool” by providing alcohol – let them know that you would rather your child be safe. Talk with your teenager’s friend’s parents who host parties and find out if they intend to allow guests to drink. Speak with the parents of other kids who will be attending the party and assess how they feel towards alcohol. Dontserveteens.gov reports that 96% of adults agree that it’s not okay to give someone else’s teen alcohol.
GETTING HOME SAFELY
Your child picked out her dress or rented his tux, posed for your countless pictures, and is ready to dance the night away. By opening up communication with your child, explaining the risks of impaired driving, and discussing underage drinking prevention with other parents, you can rest easy knowing that you have prepared your child for a night of their life – not the last night.
If the unthinkable happens and you need an Phoenix car accident lawyer, contact the attorneys at Friedl Richardson for a free consultation to receive compensation for injuries, lost wages, and other damages.