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Distracted driving: there's an app that's causing that

You are driving down the street and see that the car ahead of you is weaving in the lane. You feel uncomfortable and decide to pass it. As you go around it, you see the driver has her head down while playing with her cell phone. You are witnessing a distracted driver. This person has no regard for her own safety and creates hazardous driving conditions for others.

Using cellphones or smartphones is one of the most common ways of distracting oneself while driving. Nowadays, younger drivers are finding it harder to stop this dangerous habit. With smartphones always in hand, teen drivers pay less attention to driving their skills when on the highway.

As a parent, it is a good guess that you are worried about your child's cellphone use while driving. You may have even had the conversation about putting down the phone - or you'll take it away.

Teen drivers' distractions

You probably suspect that your teen and his or her friends are using their smartphones to text with their friends. In fact, Students against Destructive Decisions (SADD) found that 27 percent of teen drivers admit to texting while driving.

This is a particularly sad and troublesome fact when you learn that 10 percent of 15 to 19-year-old teen drivers were involved in fatal car crashes as a result of driving distracted, according to a 2013 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In the past, the focus has been on texting. Entrepreneurs have developed apps that shut a phone off when it determines the phone is moving above a certain speed (likely to be in a moving car). Advocates for safety have released numerous PSAs on television, radio and online. Many teens have even signed pledges that promise they will not text and drive.

Is that the only activity you should be concerned with putting your child at risk?

The use of applications in connection with smartphones is increasing among teens who are relying more on social media and mobile apps while they drive - like Pokémon Go. Distracted drivers of today are constantly moving beyond texting and engaging in apps usage. For this reason, young drivers can never receive enough reminders on how to avoid the dangers of letting applications technology impede their driving.

Tips for parental guidance

As a parent, you want to be a role model for your teen. Practicing what you preach about driving is the first step in the right direction. If your child sees that you do not use your smartphone while driving, he or she is likely to do the same.

It is also always best to advise and guide your teenager by sharing some facts about the dangers of distracted driving. They might roll their eyes, but informing your children over and over again is a way to prepare them for possible situations that may tempt them to use apps when driving.

Encourage them to refrain from answering calls, texting friends, using apps, and engaging in other dangerous behaviors while on the road. Yes, even encourage them to put the phone down by taking it away.

Understanding the definition of distracted driving is pertinent for all drivers. Yet, adult drivers need to give special attention to teen drivers who are more likely to elicit distracted driving behaviors. If you are a parent of a teen learning to drive, it is your responsibility to guide him or her to avoid using apps while driving. In so doing, you could prevent distracted driving and improve the safety of the road for your teen and others.

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Law Offices of William W. Green & Associates
505 S. Villa Real
Anaheim, CA 92807

Phone: 714-464-6903
Toll Free: 866-543-7598
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