by Tom Harkness
At this point, everyone knows the dangers of texting while driving. Distracted driving not only puts yourself at risk but also those around you, including your passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
Thankfully, authorities are cracking down on the issue and the proof of their efforts speak for themselves. Since enacting the ban on texting while driving, according to an article in Bloomberg, "traffic fatalities dropped 3% in states that allow police to pull over drivers for texting." They also note that States that focus the prohibition specifically on younger drivers cut traffic deaths among 15- to 21-year-olds by 11%." Impressive.
However, even with the rising improvements in driving safety, this time of year it's especially important to give your children a review of safe-driving techniques. They might roll their eyes and say they've heard all this before. However, when they return to school, your kids who are of the legal driving age will likely be traveling in heavier traffic than they typically dealt with over the summer. They will also be surrounded by less-experienced drivers that might not take the same safety precautions. A review of defensive driving techniques and ways to keep themselves secure while behind the wheel can make all the difference.
One easy way in particular that you can go over vehicle safety with them is by utilizing Verizon Wireless' "It's Up to Me" app. By texting DRIVING to 74579, motorists can take get the facts on distracted driving and even take a quiz to test their knowledge on safe driving tactics. By doing the quiz together, you'll be able to see which areas they might still be unsure of, or have questions about.
They also need to be comfortable with the increase of pedestrian and biking traffic that are inevitable with the start of school. According to AAA, 13% of children nationwide either bike or walk to school regularly. They also report that "The afternoon hours are particularly dangerous—over the last decade, nearly one in four child pedestrian fatalities occurred between 3 and 7 p.m."
Remind your kids about the importance of utilizing defensive driving techniques not only with other cars, but everyone they share the road with. At the very least, they should keep a minimum of three feet between their vehicle and a cyclist, and they should always be ready for the unexpected. Things can get hectic when school gets out in the afternoon, and it's just as easy for a pedestrian or cyclist to get distracted.
To all those behind the wheel, remember that it's not just your life that you're putting at risk when you allow yourself to be distracted while driving. Always stay aware, because texting can wait.
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