The common view of teenagers is that they are too busy texting and talking on their cell phones to pay any attention to what is going on around them.  This is too often true and sometimes has tragic consequences on the road.  In fact, according to the government’s Distraction.gov website, the largest number of distracted drivers involved in crashes in 2011 included those under 20, with 11 percent of these collisions involving a distracted driver.

However, some teens are taking matters into their own hands to get out the word to their fellow teen drivers that distraction and driving do not mix.  Sponsored by Bridgestone, the Teens Drive Smart Video Contest gives young people a chance to have their voices heard by creating a PSA or public service announcement that will be played on television to show teens the dangers of distracted driving.

So far, Bridgestone says that it has received some top-notch original videos, including:

  • “A Reciprocal of Teen Drivers”—A clever approach in which sentences read one way produce a negative impression of teens but when read backward give a positive message.
  • “August 19”—A tribute to a friend killed behind the wheel and a strong message about avoiding distracted driving.
  • “My Distractions”—An animated short that illustrates dangers to be avoided.
  • “Save A Life”—One text can change a life forever in this short video.
  • “It Can Wait”—Illustrates a situation in which no one would consider texting to show that texting can be postponed.

These winners can be viewed at Teensdrivesmart.com.  Watch them with your teen and discuss them.

How Can I Help Reduce Texting and Driving?

One of the best things you can do for your teens is to monitor your own behavior.  If you talk on the phone constantly while driving, they will think this behavior is acceptable.  Hang up and spend the time talking to your children instead of on business calls.  Never text while you are driving, even at a stoplight.  If an emergency occurs, pull over and park before getting out your phone.  Your actions will make an impression on your teens.

You may have to be a bit more invasive when it comes to monitoring your teen’s texting.  No one wants to spy on their children, but it is better to know what is going on than to face a serious collision, injury and even death of a child due to texting.  Make rules and enforce them, but think of creative ways to help teens follow these regulations.  For example, you could negotiate with your teen that if he or she agrees to put the cell phone in the glove compartment every time the car is turned on, you will give him or her a bonus at the end of the month in the form of some reward.  On the other hand, if someone tells you your teen has been texting while driving or if your teen receives a distracted driving citation, it is vital that you deal with the situation promptly, even if it means taking away the teen’s phone for a period of time. Texting and driving can increase the risk of car accidents, so it is important to be proactive regarding educating your teenager on texting and driving.

Personal injury attorneys see the terrible consequences of texting and driving every day.  Do not allow your children to take these kinds of risks; instead, become involved and talk to them about the dangers of texting and driving.