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Study: Parents are a common cause of distracted driving among OK teens

Tulsa Car Accident Attorney Can Help

Statistics on teenagers and distracted driving paint a disturbing picture. car accidents are a leading cause of death among teens, who are 3 times more likely to experience crashes than other drivers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One-tenth of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time, the highest proportion for any age group, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Sadly, teens in Tulsa can cause serious injuries to others when they make a reckless decision while behind the wheel. Past studies have shown many teens recognize that distracted driving is dangerous to themselves and others. New research sheds light on one surprising reason that many teenagers may engage in the behavior despite this knowledge.

Parental influence

Parents can indirectly cause their teens to drive distracted by modeling the behavior, and new research suggests that parents often play a more direct role in the problem by requiring their children to maintain almost constant contact via an electronic device. The American Psychological Association study surveyed more than 400 drivers, according to materials posted on Science Daily, and produced the following findings:

  • Virtually every teenager who admitted to talking on the phone while driving sometimes talked to his or her parents.
  • Of the 15- to 17-year olds with restricted permits, 37 percent talked on the phone with parents while driving, while 8 percent texted their parents.
  • Of the 18-year olds with unrestricted licenses, 50 percent talked on the phone with parents while driving, and 16 percent admitted to texting their parents.

According to an NBC report, many parents demand to know where their teenagers are any time that they call or text. Parents may become mad or punish their children for failing to answer the phone or respond promptly. These parental expectations can normalize texting or talking while driving, as can parental habits. Many students in the study stated that their own parents regularly engage in texting while driving, making the behavior seem more acceptable.

Preventative measures

These findings suggest that parental expectations can make a significant difference in whether teens text and drive. Parents should warn their teens against using their phones while driving, rather than requiring teens to return texts or answer the phone immediately while behind the wheel. Parents can even reduce distracted driving by asking their teenagers if they are driving at the start of each call or text and, if necessary, delaying the conversation until later.

Of course, statistics indicate that better behaviors on the part of parents will not prevent every instance of distracted driving among young people. In Oklahoma, legal sanctions help deter teens from texting or talking while driving; state law bans drivers with learner’s permits and intermediate licenses from texting or using handheld phones.

Sadly, sometimes the poor choices teenage drivers make affect others as well.  Anyone who has been hurt in an accident with a young driver who was distracted or otherwise acting negligently should consider speaking with an attorney about pursuing compensation.

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