Conger’s Corner: Teens and driving
- Posted on Jan 5, 2017
Please put down the cell phone! Distraction while driving is a problem for all drivers but especially for kids who are just learning to drive. Start teaching your child about driving safe long before they are teens. As you can imagine, if your teen is just learning a skill, whether it is piano, soccer, or driving, their reaction time is slower and requires more brain fibers for focus. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to be aware of the types of distractions that can lead to teen crashes and to set limits with your child to help prevent them. Radio, cell phones, eating and drinking all take attention away from the road.
Dr. Joseph O’Neil, MD, a member of the AAP Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention, notes that a teen driver with a friend in the passenger seat increases the risk of a crash by 44%. That risk jumps to 200% with two passengers and 400% with three or four teen passengers. On the other hand, teens with an adult passenger in the front seat have a very low crash rate.
When your teen starts to drive, set very strict restrictions that can be relaxed once the teen is older and has more experience. Limit nighttime driving and the number of passengers and have the cellphone in the backseat or in the trunk!