When teens take driver training, their instructors ask them to keep their eyes on the road and their hands in the 10 and 2 position on the steering wheel. But for many teens, as soon as driver training is over the rules fly out the window, and that includes keeping your eyes on the road. From texting to focusing on passengers in the vehicle, distracted driving is one of the biggest threats to teens today.
Back to school time is a great time to be reminded of the dangers of distracted driving. The Bakersfield, California Highway Patrol have upped their efforts to save lives and eliminate distracted driving in school zones by launching ‘Operation No Cell Phones Around Schools.’ Taking place from Monday, August 25th to Friday, August 29th, the campaign included “Operation Cell-Free Friday, Saturday, and Sunday” over the Labor Day weekend. Although this specific campaign has concluded, they will still be patrolling school zones and checking drivers for distracted driving and cell phone use.
Because teens are novice drivers, anything that takes their attention away from the road is going to up their risk of crashing. Many states have an outright ban on novice drivers using handheld devices in vehicles, but teens continue to text and drive. 13% of teens in 2011 crashes admitted to using their cell phone at the time of the crash. That’s 1.3 million preventable crashes due to cell phone use, a number that has to decrease.
Teen distracted drivers can turn into adult distracted drivers too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that more than 9 people in the USA are killed every day due to distracted driving, and more than 1000 are injured in distracted driving crashes.
With teen risk so high, campaigns to target distracted driving like ‘Operation No Cell Phones Around Schools’ become an important way to remind teens why taking your eyes off the road for even 5 seconds can result in a crash. If your teen is stopped during the first few weeks of back to school for distracted driving, consider it an opportunity to sit down and talk with them about how dangerous cell phone use is when driving a vehicle.