Educating teens on the dangers of distracted driving are crucial, but new research shows millennial parents may not be practicing what they preach when it comes to using phones behind the wheel
“We need parents to put their phones down and show by example,” says Sgt. Ringle. “The bottom line is I don’t care how old you are if you’re using your phone while driving, you are a distracted driver. You are a dangerous driver.”
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital surveyed 435 parents across the country and found texting and other forms of distracted driving were more common among millennial parents than older parents.
“I think we typically see 30 and 40-year-olds on their phones more often because they are more accustomed to using technology and cellphones and so forth,” says Sgt. Ringle.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest statistics reveal nine people are killed every day in distracted driving crashes.
“Matter of fact, just in Indiana last year we had over 185,000 crashes, we lost 874 people. There’s no doubt in my mind that thousands of those crashes were caused by distracted driving,” Sgt. Ringle.
The study also found most parents, regardless of age, admitted to reading and writing texts while driving.
“It is so important for parents to be good role models, all we need parents to do is put their phones down. It’s very difficult if not impossible to get our kids not to use their cellphones when they see moms and dads using their cellphones almost every single day,” says Sgt. Ringle.
As for resisting the urge to check your phone behind the wheel Sgt. Ringle has a solution.
“Put that cellphone somewhere where they can’t reach it because if it’s on the front seat or in your pocket, and you hear it ding, you’re going to check it. So either put it on mute where you can’t hear it or put it somewhere you can’t reach it,” says Sgt. Ringle.
More than half of those surveyed say they are safer drivers while their children are in the car. With two out of three saying they use their phones less when their kids are in their vehicle.