Texting while driving is downright dangerous. But that doesn’t stop countless adults and teens alike from doing it. Parents may want to keep this in mind the next time they’re tempted to reach for their phone while behind the wheel. Your children may very well follow your example with potentially deadly consequences.
One father, Brock Dietrich, lives with that regret every day. His 17-year-old daughter, Sydnee Williams, died when she lost control of her car, because she was reportedly distracted by her phone. Dietrich told CBS News that he wishes he had been a better role model: “I used to text while I drove. So I really live with the guilt that Sydnee learned texting and driving from me, and that’s what cost her life.”
The Automobile Association of America (AAA) recently completed a study that analyzed videotapes of 1,700 car crashes involving teens. This is what they found: Distracted driving played a role in 58% of those accidents deemed moderate or severe. In fact, in half of all rear end collisions studied, the teen drivers were so distracted by their phones that they didn’t even attempt to brake before impact. As Peter Kissinger, president of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, emphasizes: “They took no evasive action. They didn’t break. They didn’t steer.”
The AAA is now calling for stricter state laws when it comes to teens using cellphones while driving. And since having multiple passengers in the car can also be a serious distraction for teen drivers, the AAA is recommending passenger restriction laws.