Teenage distracted driving: Are parents partially to blame?

When a child is old enough to get his or her driver's license in Oklahoma, the parents often worry about whether or not their teen will engage in unsafe behaviors, like using a cellphone, while driving. Although parents hope that their child will refrain from talking or texting on his or her cellphone, a new study reveals that parents are partially to blame for the teenage distracted driving problem that results in many serious injuries and fatalities every year.

According to Today, of those teens who admitted to talking on their cellphones while driving, 53 percent said that they were speaking with one of their parents. Additionally, 18 percent of all the 18-year-olds who participated in the survey reported that they had texted their parents while operating a vehicle.

A dilemma for parents and their children

Many teenagers are conflicted about using their cellphones while they are driving. While they recognize the dangers, they do not want to get into trouble for not answering a call or a text from a parent while away from home. Additionally, parents contribute to the problem by wanting to know where their child is immediately, although not necessarily wanting him or her to text or call while driving.

Multitasking behind the wheel is unsafe for all drivers

Many teens cause accidents that warrant medical treatment or even lead to death, every year because they choose to use their cellphone instead of focus on the road in front of them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 21 percent of drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 who were involved in a fatal crash were distracted by their cellphone when the collision occurred.

While many teenagers are involved in fatal and injurious collisions every year, distracted driving is an unsafe activity for drivers of all ages. According to the National Safety Council, some drivers believe that:

  • The human brain is designed to successfully multitask.
  • Talking to someone on a cellphone is just like talking to a passenger in the vehicle.
  • Hands-free devices make texting or talking to another person while driving safe.

However, the NSC states that the human brain was not designed to effectively perform two activities at once. Drivers who talk on cellphones are more oblivious to traffic conditions that surround them on the road. Additionally, hands-free devices do not make texting or talking on a cellphone safe because distraction still occurs.

Distracted driving collisions continue to occur

Because many drivers do not recognize that multitasking seriously impedes their ability to drive safely, drivers, passengers and pedestrians continue to die or become injured in collisions caused by distracted drivers. If you were injured in a car accident, consult with an attorney to find out what legal steps you should take next.