Sep 05

Teens are Texting and Driving – Are They Learning it from Their Parents?

Smartphones have been on the market for more than twenty years. That means that teenagers today don’t remember a world without them. We have all heard the warnings about the dangers of texting and driving, and there are countless studies and statistics to back it up. But are we really taking these messages to heart? And are parents setting a good example for their teenage drivers?

In 2015, the National Center for Statistics and Analysis conducted a study on distracted driving and found that more than 1,000 people are injured in accidents involving distracted drivers every day in the United States. Texting or otherwise operating a smartphone while driving is especially dangerous because it not only takes the drivers eyes off the road, it also removes one or both hands from the wheel and takes their mind off of the safe operation of their vehicle.

Parents Must Model Good Driving Behavior For Their Kids

Years of experience behind the wheel mean nothing if the driver is texting while driving. Yet many parents feel as though their experience behind the wheel makes them less susceptible to the dangers of texting while driving. But what kind of example does this behaviour set for their teens?

Recently, a study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance reported that 38 percent of teens are using apps while driving. What may be surprising to learn, however, is that 37 percent of parents are using apps while driving as well. Teens may find it difficult to accept and follow rules their parents are setting regarding texting and driving, if they’re seeing their parents engage in similar behaviour on a regular basis.

Not only is it important for parents to model responsible driving habits for their teens, it is also imperative that parents don’t inadvertently encourage the behaviour through their own actions. Parents should avoid texting their teens, and expecting a response right away, when they know they’re driving. The study revealed that the predominant reasons given by teens regarding why they text and drive involved communicating with their parents. 47 percent of teens reported texting while driving or at a red light in order to respond to texts sent by their parents, while 44 percent will contact their parents via text while driving. Parents could lessen the temptation for teens to check their phones while driving by establishing check-in times at a time when their teen is not likely to be driving, or using a location tracker app on the teen’s phone.

Oregon Texting and Driving Laws

In Oregon, the basic Distracted Driving Law, also known as the cell phone law, states that it is illegal to drive while holding or using an electronic device. There are a few exceptions, including an exception for using hands-free or built-in devices, but this exception only applies to drivers 18 years of age and older. It is never legal to use a device while a vehicle is stopped at a stop sign or a red light. Drivers must safely park their vehicle before reaching for their phone.

Contact Our Oregon Distracted Driving Attorneys Today

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a texting driver, the law is on your side. You have a right to be compensated for your injuries and for any damages their negligence has caused. Keith Dozier and his associates have successfully recovered millions for severely injured clients in Portland, Vancouver, Lake Oswego, Salem, and throughout the state of Oregon. Call us today at (503) 594-0333 for a free initial consultation and review of your case.

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