Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Distracted Driving and Motor Vehicle Crashes Among Teens: From JAMA Network

From JAMA Pediatrics Network
Motor vehicle crashes are one of the most common causes of death for adolescents in the United States. Adolescents are 4 times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash compared with drivers older than 20 years. A major risk factor for motor vehicle crashes is distracted driving.

What Parents Can Do:
Be a Role Model of Safe Driving Behaviors to Your Children
Parents should always wear a seatbelt when driving and insist that passengers do as well. Parents should not use their own cell phones when driving.

Explain the Rules of Driving and Review Them
Especially when adolescents are new drivers, parents should review the rules of driving periodically. Teens should be taught that cell phones cannot be used while driving. You can provide your teen with practical tips such as keeping the phone on silent and in their backpack or purse to avoid temptation. Remind your teen that texting while driving is illegal in 41 states.

Provide Consistent Consequences When Rules Are Broken
If your child uses his or her phone while driving, let them know that a rule has been broken. Provide consequences of that behavior and be sure they are consistent if the behavior happens again. Some families choose to not allow their teen to drive for a certain period to reinforce that the privilege of driving is linked to safe driving behaviors. Other parents take away the phone for a period.