Naturally, parents want to keep in touch with their newly-licensed teens while they are out on the road. They want to make sure that they know where their child is and that he is safe. But can an overzealous parent be the cause of a distracted driving accident?
Parents Who Call Their Teens Frequently
USA Today reports that 53% of teens who talk on the phone while driving are talking to their parents. Parents call their teens often to check in, and may ask questions like where they are, who they are with, where they’re going, and what time they’ll be home. Other parents call their children just to chat, nervous that they are away from home on their own and anxious to simply connect with them in some way. However, these frequent calls sometimes result in a teen talking on the phone while they are behind the wheel.
Parents Who Insist Their Teen Answer the Phone
Some parents will go so far as to create a “ground rule” that their teen absolutely must answer the phone when their parents call. In order to avoid facing consequences at home, teens are forced to pick up their cell phones, even if they are in the middle of heavy traffic. Some parents even call repeatedly until the teen answers, only to reprimand them for not picking up right away — all while the teen is trying to focus on the road.
Avoiding Distracted Driving Accidents
While parents calling their teens aren’t the only cause of distracted driving — the same study showed that 46% of teens on the phone while driving were talking to a friend — it’s important for parents to take steps to avoid being the cause of a distracted driving accident.
Have designated check-in times with your teen where they are to call you and check in and avoid the temptation to call them in between those times. Let your teen know that they never should answer the phone when driving, and when necessary, tell your teen to pull over to use the phone. If your teen doesn’t answer when you call, don’t call over and over until they pick up. Discuss with your teen a reasonable time frame to return your call, such as 15 minutes, in order to allow them to pull over somewhere or reach their destination. Remain calm while you wait for your teen to return the call within the agreed upon time frame.
If you need more information about distracted driving accidents or your teen was involved in an accident, contact the Sarkisian Law Offices for a consultation today at 219-733-8904.