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Distracted driving, not just a teen issue

JACKSON, Miss.- When you’re behind the wheel what are you focused on? Do you find yourself checking a text and slamming on your breaks far to often? 

Distracted driving is a nation-wide epidemic. The Mississippi Department of Transportation said that in 2012 an estimated 3,328 people were killed in distraction-related crashes. That doesn’t include the 421,000 people who were injured.

Common Sense Media reported that 56 percent of adults admit to checking their phones while driving. It is a classic case of “Do as I say, not as I do,” when parents instruct their children not to text and drive, but then do it themselves.

95 percent of those parents who admitted to checking their phones while behind the wheel also said they do it in front of their teens.

Vehicle crashes are the number one cause of teen death, but is it just adolescents that have the problem with driving distracted.

When you chose to use a cellphone while you drive you reduce the amount of brain function focused on the road by 37%, according to MDOT. That means if you take your eyes off the road for only 4 and a half seconds at 55 mph, you could travel the length of a football field completely blind.

Some tips to consider behind the wheel, and to pass on to teen driver:

  • Make texting and driving non-negotiable. Under no circumstances do you pick up your phone when behind the wheel, even if stopped at a light or stop sign.
  • Getting really serious about it, turn your phone off, or on silent. Hearing it go off could compel you to check the phone even if you’ve said you wouldn’t.
  • Parents, set the example. If you don’t want your kids on the phone then don’t do it yourself.

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