“Parents have to lead by example. If you drive fast, if you drink and drive, if you text and drive, then your kids learn that that’s acceptable behavior, and it is not.
“Multitasking may be fine if you’re sitting at your desk, but not when you’re driving a car. Things can go so badly so quickly. That’s what I think teens don’t recognize. Deep down, most teens think they are invincible, but you can go from a perfectly normal situation to heading into a truck or off a bridge or into a tree within a second or two, far less than the time it takes to reach down and type ‘LOL’ on a text message.”
(CDC Director Thomas Frieden, commenting on a study published in Pediatrics that found that 45% of surveyed teens admitted to texting while driving (Michelle Healy, USAToday))
It’s one thing to put yourself in danger by doing something stupid. It’s quite another to put others in danger from your stupidity. One wonders whether our kids understand the difference.
The study involving 8,500 high school students 16 and older showed that 45% admitted texting or emailing while driving within the past 30 days. Teens who texted were also less likely to wear seat belts. And, teens who texted while driving were much more likely to drink alcohol and drive, or to be a rider in a car where the driver has been drinking. The more a teen texted, the more likely other dangerous behaviors occurred. These results complement another recent study:
At the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Washington, D.C., less than two weeks ago, researchers reported that teens who text while driving are also more likely to binge drink (five or more drinks), use tobacco, use pot, use indoor tanning devices and have unsafe sex.
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in this age group. Previous studies have shown that texting while driving is extremely dangerous (see prior PediaBlog post here).
If I am certain that my own kid won’t text while driving, is there any certainty they won’t die because someone else’s kid does? It happens all the time.