Next week is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and Dr. Kelly Browning, Executive Director of Impact Teen Drivers, a Sacramento non-profit dedicated to promoting driving safety values and rules into the teen culture, encourages parents to have conversations with their teen drivers about the importance of simply concentrating on driving.
“The only thing that makes the inexperience of a teen driver more lethal is adding a distraction such as texting or talking on the phone. We need to do one thing when driving—focus on driving,” she said.
Last week Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 194 making it clear that the 2012 California law that permits hands-free use of texting and voice does not include teenagers. According to a “Hands Free Report”, teens already are barred from using cell phones while driving — whether held or hands-free — but a 2012 law appears to give them permission to use the hands-free texting technologies such as those incorporated in Internet-connected vehicle dashboards.
“Impact Teen Drivers was proud to partner with the California Association of Highway Patrolmen and Senator Galgiani in supporting a life-saving law to ensure our most novice drivers in society are not distracted by technology,” Browning said.
Tips for preparing teens to be safe drivers
- Model safe driving for your children, and avoid using texting and mobile communications while driving. Children pay greater attention to what we do, not so much to what we say.
- Make sure your teen is experiencing 65 hours or more of practice before getting a license. Keep a log – have your teen maintain it.
- As the parent, you are the one who has the authority to give permission for your child to have a driver’s license. If during the period of time your teen is driving with a permit you do not feel she is ready to be driving on her own in all circumstances (such as left hand turns, on and off the freeway, all weather conditions, etc.), then extend the permit period. The aim of the permit period is to prepare the teen to be a safe and confident driver.
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