The teens that make up the vast majority of new drivers are a generation of texters. The typical teen sends a staggering 60 text messages per day.
All new drivers are taught not to text and drive, but not all heed this advice on a consistent basis: many make a good faith effort to avoid texting while they drive but succumb to temptation in certain instances; others will text openly, underestimating the risk of distracted driving while overestimating their own driving skills and ability to multitask.
When sending a text message, research shows that a driver's eyes are off the road for at least five seconds - and it only takes a fraction of a second for an obstacle to appear. Texting and driving increases crash-risk more than 23 times for any driver, and teens are already at the greatest risk of accident.
Here are four solutions to stop texting while driving, for new drivers, based on the degree of self-discipline required of the new driver:
1. Silence the phone while driving to avoid temptations to respond to a text or call
Many teens have taken to heart warnings about distracted driving, but are tempted when they hear the alert of an incoming text from a friend. That temptation can be eliminated by silencing the phone during drives. This solution may be adequate for drivers who can be consistently relied not to initiate a text, but who find they they have the occasional moment of weakness when the ringtone sounds. However, beware of the sound of vibration, as it can be just as compelling as a message tone.
2. Lock phones with a passphrase that's a reminder not to text or call while driving
Today’s smartphones can be locked with a text passphrase, a feature that can be used to make new drivers think twice about using their phone to text or call while driving. For example a passphrase of “NoPhoneOnRoad” or a similar short and sweet passphrase will mean that drivers who attempt to text and drive won’t be able to ignore the fact that they are doing something dangerous and prohibited. The idea is that teens who reach for their phones will pause and make a better choice as the passphrase runs through their minds. To prevent drivers from becoming desensitized to the passphrase, it should be changed periodically.
3. Put phones in the trunk
Locking the phone in a place where it can only be reached after parking is a simple but potentially effective solution to texting and driving. Like the above solutions, this solution also requires the active participation of young drivers, meaning nothing can force them to follow this practice. Consistently remembering to stow the phone in the trunk or other unreachable spot is also the sort of task that is easy to forget. Another drawback is that a phone in the trunk may not be accessible enough during an emergency where a driver needs to call 911.
4. Use distracted driving prevention technology
Using technology to fight technology is the most thorough option available. New drivers (or more realistically, their parents) who are looking for a failsafe solution that prevents texting and driving and other cellphone distractions not have reliable technological solutions available to them. Today’s distracted driving prevention solutions can reliably lock a new driver’s phone while he or she is on the road, while still allowing access to 911 during an emergency.
Learn more about Cellcontrol, a solution that can reliably prevent new drivers from texting and driving.