What Parents Need to Know About Teens, Cellphones, and Driving

05 Jun

More than half of teens admit they spend too much time on their cellphones, according to recent statistics from the Pew Research Center. When driving, eyes that are glued to a phone can’t see the road. If your teen is on their phone 24-7, take a look at the top cellphone use–driving questions and answers.
How Serious Is Driving While Using a Cellphone?

While multitasking brings benefits galore in the workplace or at school, when it comes to driving doing two things at once poses a serious risk. Whether your teen is talking on their phone, texting, or updating their social media feed, using a phone pulls focus off the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving took 3,166 lives in 2017. Distracted driving due to cellphone use is serious enough to make 48 states pass laws making it illegal to text and drive at the same time.
Should a Parent Ban Cellphones From the Car?

There’s no easy answer to this question. This personal choice depends on several factors, including how your child uses the phone, when they use the phone, and how responsible they are. You should ban your teen from using their phone while operating the car. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should lock the cell away every time they leave the house.

Cellphones have plenty of benefits. Today’s technology allows you to keep in touch with your teen, alerting them of issues at home, checking in on them, and making sure they’re safe. For these reasons, your teen should have a cellphone with them. A cellphone also allows your teen to call for help in the event of a flat tire, accident, or other auto emergency.

Instead of banning the cell from the car, make sure your teen keeps their phone out of reach. Your teen should also turn off all sounds while driving. A constantly ringing, beeping, or buzzing phone is a distraction — whether your teen picks it up or not.
Where Should a Teen Keep Their Phone in the Car?

Again, the most important part of phone storage while driving is keeping the cell out of arm’s reach. The specific place your child chooses to stash their cell depends on personal preference. While the glove box may seem like an easy answer, it’s too close to the driver’s seat. The same goes for the center console.

If your teen carries a purse, backpack, or other bag with them, they have the perfect place to store their phone. Make sure they place the bag (with the phone in it) in the backseat. Teens who don’t regularly carry a bag can keep a tote in the car for drive-time phone storage.

Avoid locking the phone in the trunk. Even though this will definitely stop them from texting or talking while driving, your child can’t access their cell in the event of an accident or other emergency.
What Happens If the Teen Needs to Text or Call During Their Drive?

Whether it’s checking in with mom or dad, getting directions, or another reason, sometimes a teen needs to use their cellphone en route. Instead of texting or calling while actively driving, your teen should pull over (to a safe place), put the car in park, turn off the engine, and then pick up their phone.

If your teen is driving with a friend or family member, the passenger can take over texting or talking duties. This leaves your child phone- and distraction-free.

Is your teen new to the road? Do they need auto insurance? Contact Family Insurance Centers for more information on policies and protection.