Help Your Teen Kick the Texting-While-Driving Habit

Did you know that texting while driving is even more dangerous than drunk driving? In 2010, distracted drivers killed 3,000 people, and it's a particularly deadly problem for teens. How do you get your teen to kick the habit?

  • Your car, your rules. Some cities have laws in place against texting while driving, but you should clearly lay down your family law with your teen driver: Whoever is in the driver's seat cannot touch cell phones. If you have proof that they're texting while driving, take away their keys.
  • Be aware of your teen's habit. Observe their driving habits when you are with them in the car.
  • There's an app for that. Look into phone applications that help monitor your teen's behavior. Some apps can lock the phone when the device is in motion or monitor the phone's activity for you to check later.
  • Set a good example. Make sure you don't text and drive either! Let your friends and family know about the rules of the road. If people close to you don't follow these rules, do not allow your children into the car with them.
  • Practice prevention. If your teen can't resist touching the phone while driving, teach them to keep it in the backseat or in the trunk where they cannot reach it.
  • Remember: There is no "safe way to text and drive." Intersections are the most dangerous places during your drive, and distracted people who text at stop lights do not look all four ways.
  • Make your teen think about the consequences. Talk about what you as a family will go through if they text, drive, and die - from the emotions of each individual in the family, to the logistics of police, hospitals and funerals. Ask them what kind of funeral they'd want for themselves and write down details with them. Make it a very serious discussion, and your teen will understand the reality of risky behavior.
  • Ask your teen, "Is that text worth dying for?" No message, emoji or "LOL" can ever be an understandable reason for a crash.

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