One of the most well-known auto clubs in the nation, AAA, released a report last week recommending new laws that ban the use of cell phones and other mobile devices by teenage drivers. This is not the same old ban on texting and driving, this is the prohibition of any use of a mobile device by a teenage driver. But why?
Previous estimates had teenage distracted driving as the cause of vehicle collisions in about 14% of incidents. The startling report by AAA raises this to 58%, and it is not an estimate. The data was collected by watching real videos of 1700 teenage drivers.
The 7-year study shows that teens do more than drive when they are behind the wheel. Teens were observed reading text messages, talking on their phones, updating social media statuses, and even performing personal hygiene. The fact that teens drive while distracted is not news – the fact that the statistics are so much higher than was once thought is.
When it comes to distracted drivers, teens do not always know that they are, indeed, distracted. In one instance, a teen on his cell phone, looked both ways and was still struck by a vehicle that he did not see. In other accidents, teens rear end drivers without ever braking.
AAA is not trying to get teenage drivers in trouble with the law or their parents. Instead, the group is aiming to make the roads safer for every driver. The group hopes that parents of teen drivers will set down their own rules when it comes to borrowing the car. Parents should also be very clear of the consequences their children will face if they are caught disobeying the rules.
The law should not be limited to teens some say. Distracted driving knows no age, although adults may practice better self-control when driving. Anyone getting behind the wheel is reminded that driving is all that one should be doing inside of a vehicle. There is no room for error or distraction when it comes to operating machinery that could be the cause of someone’s death.
If you choose to drive a car, put your cell phone down. Eat before you leave home or wait until you get to your destination. Put your makeup on and brush your hair before you grab your keys. Understand that there is nothing that cannot wait. When you drive with all of your attention focused on the task, you are less likely to be the cause of your own, or someone else, ruined day.