Texting and teenagers appear to be the perfect match, except when it comes to driving.  Cellphones distract drivers and are one of the top causes of car accidents, as our firm’s San Diego car accident attorneys know from years of on-the-job experience.

But a new study is asking whether parents have any influence or not on their teen drivers texting habits, according to a story on National Public Radio (NPR).  The question the study raises is this:  will parents who are bad drivers set examples for teen drivers to be equally reckless?

Teen drivers might be texting behind the wheel because their parents do too.

It is a question worth asking, especially if it stops another wrongful death due to a distracted driver behind the wheel.

At Serious Accidents, we’ve talked a lot about the technology that needs to be implemented into cars to shut off cell phones (except in the event of an emergency and you need 9-1-1 assistance), but that is still years away from being commonplace vehicles.  Until then, parents should be stepping up.

Teens text everywhere.  While walking, while in school, and while driving — this seems like a given.  But adults have these same habits, including driving and texting at the same time, which is highly dangerous because it takes your eyes off of the road.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has already done research on the correlation between teens and parents in terms of car accidents.  Those parents who had three or more car accidents on their records were 22% more likely to have their teenage drivers get in a car accident over parents who had zero accidents.

Unfortunately, that evidence cannot translate directly into cell phone usage behind the wheel.  Instead, researches are suggesting that teens are seeing their parents as a role model behind the wheel, which can be a good or bad thing depending on the caliber of the driver.  Some teens called their parents driving “scary.”

“They would tell stories about their parents texting with the phone while trying to drive with their knees,” said one researcher. “They would talk about other ways in which parents were distracted behind the wheel, including using GPS or trying to use the walkie-talkie function on the phone, or making calls.”

This means that there are more adult-distracted drivers, who talk on the phone and text, than we think.  Our firm’s San Diego car accident attorneys feel this needs to change in both age demographics.

Here are three things to do in order to put a stop to distracted driving:

  1. Every time you get in your car, turn your cell phone off. You can even write yourself a note to be placed on or near your ignition that reads “car on, phone off.”
  2. Set your cell phone to “SILENT” and then put it in the glove box, middle storage compartment, the trunk, or underneath your seat. Keep it out of sight and out of mind.
  3. When driving with another passenger, give control of your phone to them.  If you need to communicate with someone via texting, have your passenger write the messages out for you and read the responses aloud so you don’t have to take your attention away from driving.

So, whether you are young or old, new to or a veteran of the road, there should be no reason why a cell phone is in your hand when your foot is on the gas.

If you are injured in a car accident, contact our San Diego law firm at (800) 655-6585 for a FREE consultation with an experienced car accident attorneys.  You may also click here to submit your case for a FREE online review.

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