The best method to persuade teens to stop texting while driving is to treat the issue as another form of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is any activity that can hinder a person’s ability to safely drive a motor vehicle. The most common type of distracted driving discussed among teens is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, since texting is one of the leading causes in motor vehicle crashes, it is better to discuss the issue of texting and driving in the same way that driving under the influence is discussed. In fact, it would be effective to add a discussion of texting and driving into the programs that already discuss other forms of distracted driving within schools. Teens need to learn that texting while driving is the same as distracted driving, because any text can divert a person’s attention from the road. Teens should also be aware that texting while driving imposes the same risks as other forms of distracted driving.
More than half of the nation has enacted laws making it illegal to text and drive. Unfortunately, CBS News noted in April, 2014, that the laws are not effective in reducing teen driving and texting. Teens often ignore the laws, because they do not understand the importance of the laws.
The new laws are imperative in maintaining road safety for drivers and passengers of all ages. Therefore, states should continue to pass laws, but states should also ensure that teens are aware of the laws and their purpose. The best way to make teens more aware of the issue is to directly discuss the issue with teens. This can be accomplished by adding texting and driving into the distracted driving programs that administer school-wide discussions.
Distracted driving programs are successful among public schools, because the programs are emotionally appealing to students. For example, majority of the programs show a video of a personal story to demonstrate the long-term effects of driving under the influence. A speaker then discusses the material from the video with a large group of students. The Center for Disease Control in 2006 also found that when emotional videos were coupled with information of a national issue like tobacco awareness, people were less likely to use tobacco. Distracted driving programs are an effective prevention method, because of their use of emotional materials. If distracted driving programs were to include emotional depictions of texting and driving in their discussions, then students would learn about the dangerous effects of texting as they learn about other types of distracted driving. The programs should also mention that texting is harmful to teens and others, because texting can quickly lead to a motor vehicle crash and cause injury or death.
Teens need a reason to change their actions. Students will not understand the harmful effects of texting and driving until distracted driving programs provide information about texting to students. Once teens are aware of the harmful effects, they will be persuaded to stop using their phones while driving.