April is Distracted Drivers Awareness Month
04-02-2012 (Dayton, OH) -
Love it or hate it, texting is a major part of life for many people, especially teens. They’re often compelled to stay connected and in touch with friends from sunup to sundown. However, reports of texting-related injuries are on the rise based on doctors’ reports nationwide.
In fact, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) warns about the dangerous new trend of texting at “inappropriate times.” As kids and teens head back-to-school — when they feel the need to know about everything from who’s wearing what to why that pop quiz was so tough — parents can help educate their kids about when it’s appropriate and, especially, safe to text.
“It doesn’t matter if teens can text without looking at the keypad, as many proudly can,” says Jessica Saunders, injury prevention coordinator at Dayton Children’s. “Even if it feels like second nature, their brain is still focused on trying to do two things at once — and one of them is bound to get less attention.”
To help keep texting in perspective, Dayton Children’s offers these tips:
- Be a good role model.Don’t text or talk on your cell when you should really be focusing your attention elsewhere.
- Emphasize that there’s a time and place for texting. Create and enforce family rules about talking on the phone and texting while driving, crossing the street, or walking in crowds.
- Research your state’s young-driver laws. Find out whether your state has texting and cell phone restrictions for young drivers at www.statehighwaysafety.org.
- Make safety a priority if cell phone use is necessary. If teens must use their cell phones right away tell them to pull off the road to a safe location before they attempt to use it.
- Encourage teens to create their own pact. Teens can help each other with reminders about safe texting and vowing not to ride with friends who don’t practice safe driving habits.
“When kids and teens text, they’re thinking about what to say, focusing on what their thumbs are doing, and constantly reading incoming messages — rather than paying attention to what they should be doing,” adds Saunders. “That significantly ups their risk of getting hurt and injuring others, possibly even seriously.”
It’s hard for teens to get by without texting when they are so attached to their communication technologies. The best thing parents can teach their teens is to manage how and when they text by choosing the right time and place.
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