Driver distraction is responsible for many fatalities on our highways. Distraction might involve picking up something that fell on the floor of your vehicle, fiddling with the radio or reaching into the back seat to calm a fretful child. However, at the top of the list, which includes anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road, is the activity of texting.
As a parent, you may feel confident that your child knows texting is risky, but does your teenager really understand why it is so dangerous?
A fatal habit
Teens always want to stay in touch, which is why they represent the age group most likely to use their cell phones while driving, a habit that not only includes calling but also texting and exchanging emails. In 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 9 percent of the drivers aged 15 to 19 years of age involved in fatal vehicle crashes experienced distraction at the time of the accident.
Three types of distraction
With respect to driving, texting is the most dangerous activity because the effort involves all three major types of distraction:
- Cognitive, or taking your mind off driving
- Visual, which involves taking your eyes off the road
- Manual, anything that requires taking your hands off the wheel
Full concentration goes missing
It might be easier for your teen to grasp the danger of texting if he or she understands “the cognitive load.” This is the amount of mental activity the brain can handle at any one time. If you are texting, for example, your brain has that much less cognitive ability to devote to driving. In terms of safety, it is not a fair exchange.
Texting laws in Kentucky
If you need a bit more fuel for emphasizing the dangers of texting, remind your child Kentucky law prohibits all drivers from texting while driving. In fact, no one under the age of 18 may drive while using a “personal communication device” except in the case of contacting law enforcement or medical personnel during an emergency. Help your teen conquer the need to text while driving, and you will have done your best to keep a young driver safe.