Put the brakes on texting and driving

Recent news about Snapchat’s speed filter has revved up discussion around teens and distracted driving.

This week the Washington Post reported on an 18-year-old who crashed her vehicle into another after attempting to exceed 100 mph on Snapchat’s speed filter. She was going 107 mph and, needless to say, permanently injured the other driver. She’s “lucky to be alive” herself, as she captioned a Snapchat selfie at the hospital.

Distracted driving is approaching epidemic proportions. Last year, it caused 43 percent of Kentucky’s car accidents and nearly one-quarter of deaths from crashes. These crashes resulted in more than 15,000 injuries and 182 fatalities.

Even with a Kentucky state law banning drivers of all ages from texting while a vehicle is in motion, it’s no contest against the rise in popularity of social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

The fact of the matter is educating youth on the dangers of using a cellphone while driving is critical.

The Children’s Hospital Foundation Office of Child Advocacy of Norton Children’s Hospital offers a distracted driving simulator to several Jefferson County, Kentucky, high schools. However, being a safe teen driver starts with good instruction from parents.

What you can do to teach your teen to avoid distracted driving

  • Be a good role model with your own driving habits. Teens learn behaviors from their parents, and yours have been watching you drive since they were small. Put your phone down or even out of reach, and your teen is more likely to do the same.
  • Talk to your kids about speaking up if they are with a driver who isn’t driving safely.
  • Buckle up on every ride, every time. Should an accident happen, you are more likely to walk away with no or fewer injuries.

Want more information on teen driving safety? Call the Office of Child Advocacy at (502) 629-7358.


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