As a responsible parent, it’s your duty to know where your child is at all times. So when your son asked for a cell phone, you knew that at least you would be able to keep track of him when he’s not at work or in class. But if you’re calling him while he’s on his way home from Morristown High School, you could be putting him at greater risk of a crash—especially if you keep calling until he picks up.

Parents May Cause Their Teenagers to Drive Distracted

According to survey results presented at the recent American Psychological Association convention, over half of all teenagers who answer the phone while driving are responding to a call from their parents. While parents are less likely to text their sons and daughters, teenagers still admitted to texting their friends while behind the wheel—even in states that had a dedicated texting ban.

The study also shed light on why distracted driving continues to be an issue on New Jersey roads:

  • Persistent parents. The survey found that over 53 percent of teens who use their cell phone behind the wheel talked to a parent, while only 46 percent talked to their friends. The teens also commented that their parents are likelier to keep calling if the call isn’t answered—prompting further distraction.
  • Ignoring the dangers. Most of the teenagers surveyed admitted that they knew texting behind the wheel was dangerous. Although 21 percent of fatal teen crashes involve cell phones, drivers aged 15 to 18 said they still texted and answered phone calls even though the law—and their parents—didn’t allow it.
  • Family behavior. Many of the teens in the survey said that they regularly see their parents’ use a cell phone while driving—even those who prohibit their children from doing the same.
  • Poor judgment. Although some teens did make an attempt to control their texting and calling behavior, the efforts were not very strict. Teenagers responded that they were more likely to text and talk at red lights than in heavy traffic, but 39 percent still talked—and 19 percent texted—while driving at high speeds.

Of course, you can’t always be sure of your child’s location before calling him. After all, you’re usually calling to find out where they are! But you can help your child stay safe by waiting until he is home to talk to him—and when you do, stress that it is always okay to call you back if he is driving when you call. Share this article on Facebook with other parents who may have a habit of calling their teens when they’re behind the wheel!

Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer