Would you drive drunk with your kid in the car? Of course not! Then why do you text and drive? You're putting their lives at risk and teaching them a horrible lesson. If they're drivers or close to driving age, your teenage kids are at risk of doing the same thing. And the results are tragic.
In BC, the top three causes of fatal car crashes between 2010 and 2014 for ages 16 to 21 were:
- speeding (39%)
- impaired driving (27%)
- distracted driving (22%)
You warn your kids about the dangers of speeding and drunk driving. The same tough message has to come about distracted driving. So lead by example and put your phone away when you're in the driver's seat.
There is good news. The rate of drunk-driving crashes has been going down. But there's bad news. Crashes involving distracted drivers are way up, especially texting and driving. That message just isn't getting through.
The research is pretty clear – texting and driving is dangerous! Distracted drivers are responsible for almost a quarter of all fatal car crashes in BC. If you're using your phone behind the wheel, you're about five times more likely to be in a crash than if you left the phone alone. Some research even suggests you'd be more alert if you were driving drunk (although you should never do that!) than texting while driving.
If you texting while driving, your physical and mental capacity is reduced. Your eyes are not on the road, your hands are removed from the steering wheel, and your concentration is on something other than driving.
That means your reaction time is severely reduced – all it takes is a second or two for a serious crash to happen.
So set an example for your kids. Leave the phone alone. Pull over if you need to use your phone. And eliminate temptation by turning off your phone before you start the engine. No message on your phone is more serious than this: distracted driving is deadly!
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