Every parent worries about their child’s safety and well-being, especially once they start driving. Do you know what would happen if your teenager was pulled over for a traffic violation? Here are some resources for you, and we encourage you to open up a conversation with your child about the dangers of using their cell phone while driving.
  1. Florida law bans the use of cell phones while driving. Here is the link to the current “No Texting While Driving Law:” https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2013/316.305
  2. Under the current Florida law, texting while driving is a secondary offense. A primary offense is a violation of law that the police can stop you for. Examples of primary offenses include not wearing your seatbelt, or running a stop sign. A secondary offense is a violation that can only be cited upon receiving a primary offense. So if your child runs a stop sign while texting, police can pull him or her over for running the stop sign and then cite him for texting while driving. If an accident involves an injury or death, your child’s cell phone billing data can be pulled and used as evidence (https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2013/316.305).
  3. Florida lawmakers are pushing for tougher laws on texting while driving. They want to change this to be a primary offense. See the following link for more on this: http://orlando.legalexaminer.com/uncategorized/tougher-texting-driving-bills-introduced-in-florida-legislature/
  4. The statistics are scary: Nine Americans die every day from motor vehicle accidents resulting from distracted driving. Texting, eating, and using a cell phone are examples of distractions.*
  5. Using your cellphone while driving increases your chances of getting in a motor vehicle crash by 25%.*
  6. A whopping 49% of adults admit to texting while driving, although 98% of adults know it is unsafe.* Be careful how you model driving to the younger ones around you. They learn best from you!
  7. AT&T has a free app called AT&T DriveMode that prevents texting while your teenager is driving. The app works only with Android and Blackberry phones. Find it on Google Play here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.drivemode&hl=en
  8. IOS (Apple) has a few free apps that disable texting and calls while driving. Here is a link to DriveSafe Mode on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/drive-safe-mode/id491938115?mt=8
  9. A great visual of texting and driving statistics can be found here: http://www.textinganddrivingsafety.com/texting-and-driving-stats
We are all in this together as parents, and we want to help your children to stay safe!
By Susan Kurtz | 220 Youth Counselor