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Distracted Driving And Teens Behind The Wheel

Perspective and wisdom are in short supply all over. Shortsighted behavior is not restricted to one age group. There are, however, things that seem like they could only be connected with teenagers. A recent study revealed the positive news that teens are showing a greater awareness of the dangers of texting while driving. It also revealed that teens are engaging in activities such as changing clothes, doing homework and putting in contact lenses while driving. It might be a case of not being able to see the forest for the trees.

Distracted driving is not specific to cell phone use. It is certainly not a problem restricted to texting. Laws and safety campaigns geared toward texting while driving might be having the unfortunate effect of making people feel comfortable engaging in other distracting behaviors. It is important to remember, when dealing with an inexperienced driver, that what might seem obvious to you might not be obvious to them. When telling a teen driver not to text behind the wheel, it might be a good idea to reiterate that it is also not a good time to be switching your wardrobe, finishing your algebra assignment or applying eye liner. 

Cell phones are not the problem. They are the way the real problem expresses itself in some cases. Too many people, teens and older drivers included, believe that they can combine safe driving with other activities. If you are programming the GPS or looking for your favorite song on your iPod, you are not driving safely. If you are talking on the phone, reading a billboard, eating a sandwich or fiddling with the radio, you are not driving safely. Anything that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off of the task of driving is a distraction that can lead to a deadly accident. We should not lose sight of this by making texting the face of distracted driving.

Source: NPR, "Teens Say They Change Clothes And Do Homework While Driving," by Maanvi Singh, 18 March 2015 

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