How to Prevent Teen Texting while Driving
We all know that texting while driving is dangerous, but teen drivers still do it at an alarming rate. Some studies show as many as 46% of teens admitted to texting while driving. 97% of these same teens agreed that texting and driving is dangerous. A person texting while driving has her eyes off the road 400% more than one who is not. A driver who is texting is distracted and a menace to other drivers.
I have two teenage daughters, and know the pervasiveness of texting in their life. They will send and receive between 12,000 and 15,000 texts per month Teens text automatically and effortlessly. It is their preferred mode of communication. Leaving aside the sociological issues of this mode of communication, the question is how to stop them from texting and driving.
PASS A LAW
Many states and municipalities are making it illegal to text and drive. While this approach has some facial appeal, it is like any prohibition on a preferred activity. People will break the law. The practical effect of a law prohibiting texting and driving is that it punishes the behavior, rather than preventing it.
JAM THE CELL PHONE SIGNAL
The technology is available to jam the cell signal in your car. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2008694337_jam01.html The idea is that a jamming device is activated while the engine is running. The result is your vehicle has a dead zone where the signals do not get in or out. The problem with this solution is that it is illegal. The FCC could fine you up to $11,000.00 and impose a bunch of other penalties. The FCC does not want the right to the airways infringed upon, and thus jamming technology is illegal. It seems to me that the balancing of rights should be in favor of life even at the cost of some profits to the cell phone industry.
Parents can place a camera in the car their teens drive. Several insurance companies offer programs to help fund the cost of the cameras. See American Family’s plan: http://www.amfam.com/customer/learning/safety/teendriversafety.asp The camera is designed to go on whenever the it senses something wrong with the way the car is being driven. Thus, it will show the results of texting and driving, but it won’t necessarily prevent the behavior.
TALK TO YOUR KIDS
Even if we don’t believe it, our kids do listen to us. As parents we set the rules for our kids, and if we are clear about texting and driving many of them will listen. You can check your cell bill and get the dates and times your kids are texting without invading their privacy. You can compare when they had the car to when they were texting and take away driving privileges in the event they violate the rules.