More than 71 percent of young people have admitted to texting while driving.1 And though cell phone use is a cause of accidents among young drivers between ages 16 and 19, surprisingly texting is not the only problem when it comes to keeping their attention on the road.2
Singing, dancing, eating, and talking to passengers are all tempting distractions a young driver faces each time he or she gets behind the wheel. In many cases, young drivers don’t realize how much attention these activities take away from what’s most important – safe driving.
Being a safe on the road means giving driving your full attention physically, visually and mentally, and distractions from all three can happen in an instant. For example, a young driver reaching for something in the passenger seat, has less control because he or she has physically taken his or her hand(s) off the wheel. And if that driver can’t find what he or she wants, looking at the seat is visually distracting taking his or her eyes the road. Finally, as the driver focuses on trying to find what he or she is looking for, his or her attention is fully removed from the road and what’s around him or her.
Keeping a young driver safe starts with communication and commitment. Discuss what it means to drive responsibly with your teen and outline the specific distractions he or she faces while behind the wheel. Then, work together to make a distraction-free driving plan that could include:
- Turning off, then moving cell phones and other electronics out of reach
- Making a pledge together to be more accountable when driving alone
- Supervised driving hours with your teen
- Wearing a seat belt and following all highway safety laws
Farm Bureau is committed to developing the next generation of safe young drivers. Contact your local agent to learn more about how our Young Driver Safety Program can help your young driver avoid distractions, gain confidence behind the wheel and possibly qualify for an insurance discount.
1 (NOPUS) NHTSA National Highway Transportation Safety Association publication
2 NHSTA, Injury Facts Survey published 2014