Summertime means more teens will be driving on our roadways - and many will not be paying attention. Inattention behind the wheel among teens is so widespread that AAA refers to summertime when teens are out of school as the '100 deadliest days for teens.'
Crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths, and distracted driving is thought to contribute to more than half of teen crashes. Worse, teen fatality rates are three times higher than other age groups.
As a father of two teenagers who will be driving on their own soon, these statistics alarm me. As a lawyer, I have seen an exponential growth in distracted driving crashes in recent years.
We're Taking the Distracted Driving Message to High Schools
For these reasons and more my firm has partnered with EnDD.org (End Distracted Driving) and the American Association for Justice (AAJ) to offer a distracted driving educational program to area high schools.
This program was developed by Joel Feldman, an attorney whose 21-year-old daughter was tragically killed by a distracted driver. It is truly unlike any other we know of, and has been extremely well received by more than 300,000 students in 44 states and Canada. And it is recognized by traffic safety experts, including the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Governors Highway Safety Association, as one of the most effective programs for teens.
Joel worked with psychologists and teen safe-driving experts to integrate behavioral science, behavior change theory, and teen-targeted persuasion principles specifically designed to avoid any potential teen backlash of feeling as though someone is trying to restrict their freedom and rights.
We are excited about this effort. And based on feedback, we hope it will help make a positive impact in our communities.
5 Ways You Can Help Curb Distracted Driving
Because distracted driving affects all of us, it's everyone's problem. And this growing and deadly epidemic needs attention from all fronts. Here is what each of us, including you, can do to help try to render distracted driving unacceptable - period.
- Model appropriate behavior behind the wheel. Don't drive distracted
- Download, print, and display the YES! I WILL family pledge and safe driving agreement from EndDD.org
- Visit teendriving.aaa.com/NC for safety resources for your teen drivers
- Start discussions early on, well before teens reach driving age
- Take advantage of some of the latest apps (some free) and tech gadgets that can help make it easier for teens (and all of us) to avoid using phones while behind the wheel. Here's an article by a USA Today affiliate which highlights some of them
I urge you to join me in modeling this behavior for our young drivers, so that eventually this dangerous practice will no longer be considered acceptable.