Distracted Driving Is Dangerous
When you practice driving, you can see the importance of focusing on the task at hand. And after gaining a little experience behind the wheel, it’s also probably obvious to you that a person can’t safely text and drive a car 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 allow other distractions – like talking on the phone – to pull their attention from the road.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than half of the teen drivers who responded 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, put safety first – don’t be a distracted driver.
State Driver Distraction Laws
Distracted driving 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 Oregon, drivers under age 18 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. Oregon 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 Oregon’s graduated driver licensing system bans non-family teen passengers under age 20 for the first 6 months of driving, unless supervised by a licensed parent, stepparent or legal guardian, and allows no more than three non-family teen passengers under 20 for the second 6 months.
Key Tips for Safe Driving
- Distractions are commonly caused by cell phones and other wireless devices, but 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 are all things that could lead to a crash.
- As you begin practice driving, ask your parents, driving instructor or other supervising driver how they stay focused on driving when presented with distractions.
- Help other teen 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 recklessly, speak up. Tell your friends not to text and drive, ask to help them manage the phone or, if they do not change their risky behavior, ask to be dropped off.