Distracted Driving is Dangerous
Solo driving and smart choices should go hand in hand – don’t jeopardize safety now that you’re driving on your own. After hours of practice driving, you can see how a person wouldn’t be able to text and drive safely at the same time. Distracted drivers cause crashes, and people can get hurt or killed. That’s why responsible teen drivers don’t text and drive, and they don’t let other distractions – like talking on the phone – pull their attention from the road.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than half of teen drivers used a cell phone while driving, and more than 1 in 4 reported typing or sending a text message while driving in the previous 30 days. When you’re behind the wheel of a car, always put safety first – don’t be a distracted driver.
State Driver Distraction Laws
Driving distracted could leave you responsible for a crash in which other people could be hurt or even killed. At the least, you could end up with a traffic ticket. In the District of Columbia, learner’s permit holders are banned from using any kind of wireless communication device while driving, including all handheld and hands-free cell phones and text messaging devices. Possible consequences of a ticket include:
- Suspended driving privileges
- Attorney’s fees
- Court costs
- Insurance rate increases
The law does not single out teen drivers, either. The District of Columbia has similar restrictions for adults, who may not text and drive or use a handheld cell phone while behind the wheel.
Electronic devices aren’t the only distractions a driver faces. Passengers can be distracting, too. This is one reason D.C.’s graduated driver licensing system bans non-family passengers during the first 6 months of driving, other than one licensed adult age 21 or older, and allows no more than two non-family teen passengers under age 21 until a teen driver reaches age 18
Key Tips for Safe Driving
- In addition to cell phones and other wireless devices, distractions such as eating, drinking, chatting with a passenger, reading a map, personal grooming, reaching for objects or looking at people or objects unrelated to the driving task also could lead to a crash.
- Ask your parents, driving instructor or other responsible drivers how they stay focused on driving when presented with distractions.
- Help other drivers avoid distractions by being a good passenger. If you’re ever riding with friends who are texting, on a cell phone, speeding or otherwise behaving irresponsibly, speak up. Tell your friends to drive safely, offer to help them manage the phone or, if they do not change their risky behavior, ask to be dropped off.