Car accident deaths happen due to any number of circumstances; however, most people associate them with drunk driving, speeding or horrific multi-vehicle accidents. The reality is, distracted driving car accidents cause more car accident fatalities than drunk driving or speeding accidents.
Frequency of Distracted Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nine people will lose their lives every day because of a distracted driving accident. Distracted driving can include any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road and cars around them.
The types of distracted driving that most people are familiar with include texting, smartphone use, eating and drinking, using navigation systems, talking to passengers, adjusting radio and personal grooming. Responsible parents continually reinforce that their teens should refrain from the distractions that cell phones pose while driving so they can avoid getting into a car accident.
Distracted Driving Among Teenagers
Even though parents continually urge their teens to drive safely, recent survey results found that teens feel increasingly pressured to immediately respond to their parent’s text messages while driving. The study conducted by Boston-based Liberty Mutual Holding Co. and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) found that 19 percent of the parents surveyed expect a response from their teens within one minute of receiving their text. Over 50 percent of the teen participants admitted to texting and driving as the means of communicating with their parents.
The chief executive officer of SADD notes that the current generation of parents are accustomed to being instantaneously connected to their children. However, the safety of teen drivers needs to outweigh parental desire for uninterrupted communication with their teens, especially when they are behind the wheel.
Teen drivers noted they receive frantic messages from their parents, many of whom may not realize the delayed response is because the teen is driving. Beyond the parental pressure for quick response times, 50 percent of teen drivers admit they stay socially connected through their phones while driving, and 88 percent consider themselves safe drivers even though they use popular social media sites such as Snapchat and Instagram while on the road.
Many teens do not consider sending messages while at a red light to be distracted driving behavior. A principal research scientist at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety communicates that the pressure on today’s teens to always be connected is one of the reasons young drivers make tragic decisions while they are behind the wheel.