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Distracted Driving: 5 Tips For Parents of Teens, Part 2

Our last post introduced some common recommendations for parents of teenage drivers. One of the most important ways to help teenagers stay safe on the road is to help them combat the temptation to text while driving.

Teenagers face more distraction-related risks than any other age group and the rate of teen traffic fatalities is on the rise in Florida and other states. Distracted driving likely plays a large role.

2. A second tip for teenage drivers is teach them to choose a "designated texter" when driving with a friend. Florida's recent "Designated Texter" public awareness campaign offers a number of good resources - including an online pledge commitment and a wealth of personal stories about the importance of not texting behind the wheel.

3. Parents can also follow the NHTSA's advice by making a safe driving contract with teen drivers. The government's website at distraction.gov offers a form contract to set out each promise as well as the consequences for breaking the agreement. Parents can use contracts to dole out driving privileges while carefully tying them to safety-related promises.

4. For some parents, a better route might be equipping a teen driver's smartphone with an anti-distraction app. Several companies have developed apps that use GPS sensors to disable phones while the user is driving. The phone can send an automatic response and generate reports on the teenager's driving habits.

5. Finally, parents can make a big impact by taking the time to talk to teenagers about the dangers of distracted driving. Teen drivers are likely to be unaware of the risks of "just responding" to a text - parents can provide important perspective.

Source: Mashable, "This App Turns Smartphones Into Safe Driving Tools," Kate Freeman, Aug. 30, 2012

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