Monday, January 7, 2013

Texting and Driving

As parents, we are all aware that drinking and driving is something that you just don't do.  And as parents we want to make it very clear to our kids that drinking and driving is dangerous and leads to the deaths of many innocent people.  In fact, according to the CDC, 10,228 people (in the United States) were killed in 2010 in alcohol related accidents.  Our country and individual states have laws making it illegal to drink and drive.

Unfortunately these laws do not apply to texting (or any smartphone use) and driving.  Sure, some states have enacted texting laws to limit the use of smartphone use among drivers, but these laws are limited to specific states, and are often limited in scope.  Why this is, I have no clue.  More and more studies, including this one, show that texting and driving leads to more accidents than drinking and driving.  11 teenagers die EVERY day while texting and driving.  

If our legislatures (and by all means write/call them on this issue) aren't going to do anything, then we as parents must be the one to stop our children from texting and driving.  Taking away their phones is not the answer.  Kids must be educated on the reasons as to why one shouldn't text and drive.  Think about this for a moment.  What is your view on drinking and driving?  Do you find it atrocious that people drink and then get behind the wheel, knowing that their judgment is impaired?  Do you feel the same way about texting and driving?  If not, you should.  Your judgement is not impaired in the same way as it is when drinking, but when texting, you're not even looking at the road!  At least drunk drivers are looking at the road while driving!

So how do you teach your kids to not text and drive?  It's relatively simple.  Point out to your kids, especially when they are young, when you see someone texting and driving, or even talking on the phone for that matter.  Explain to them why this is wrong.  Then follow it up by your actions.  Don't text and drive yourself.  Don't talk on the phone.  You can't tell your kids not to do something and then do that very something your self.  That's a worthless exercise in parenting.  If you do it, I guarantee your kids will do it.  So if you don't want them to text and drive, then don't text and drive!  If you don't want them to talk on the phone while driving, then don't talk on the phone while driving!

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