Driving Distracted: Teens

(NC) — A recent study found that while 97 per cent of teens say they know the risks of texting and driving, 43 per cent admit to doing it anyway. Additionally, 75 per cent of all teens surveyed say texting and driving is a common occurrence amongst their friends.

“Texting is second nature for today's youth,” says Karen Benner of Allstate Insurance Company of Canada. “Not only do they send five times as many text messages as adults, but nine in 10 teens also say they expect a reply within five minutes.”

Distracted driving is a risky behaviour that contributes to fatal car collisions, the leading cause of death among young Canadians, observers say. Many companies, like Allstate Canada, have started campaigns to show the risks and consequences of distracted driving.

“We need to reinforce safe driving behaviours now so teens develop habits that will last a lifetime,” says Benner. “That's why we created the Action Against Distraction campaign, to educate teens about the risks and consequences of multi-tasking behind the wheel and help keep our roads safe for everyone.”

What can parents do? Benner offers these tips:

Explain the law: Although the consequences vary by province, most punishments include being fined (between $100 and $400) and receiving demerit points, which will increase the cost of insurance.

Provide context: Help your child understand the consequences of distracted driving. There are many stories of young lives lost and you can set an example by not multi-tasking behind the wheel.

Take a stand: Both you and your teen should make a promise not to drive distracted. Tools to help start this conversation can be found at goodhandsadvice.ca/distraction, including a safe driving pledge and a parent/teen contract.

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