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Study blames parents for distracting their teen drivers with phone calls

 Distracted driving causes 11 percent of fatal crashes among teens, and 21 percent of those crashes involve cellphone use.
Distracted driving causes 11 percent of fatal crashes among teens, and 21 percent of those crashes involve cellphone use.
AP

Parents, if you are fretting about your child being distracted while driving then stop calling them! A new study presented at the American Psychological Association's annual Washington D.C. convention on Friday stated, fifty-three percent of teens, who were on the phone while maneuvering a motor vehicle were chatting away with mom or dad. The study also revealed that many parents still don't understand, how dangerous it is for their child to answer a phone, while trying to concentrate on the road according to HealthDay News.

The study, led by Noelle LaVoie, a cognitive psychologist based in California, first interviewed 13 teens whose ages ranged from 15 to 18. The children held either a learner's permit of actual driver's license. Every single teen admitted to having had conversations with their parents while driving, another 20 percent confessed to yucking it up with friends as they operated a car.

Study researchers then called upon 400 interviewees across the country in the same previously studied age range. Those kids with learner's permits were reportedly more law abiding, as far as chatting on a cell phone while driving, 43 percent did not use or pick up their cell. Sixteen and 17-year-olds were more likely to risk distraction by driving and talking on their cell, while a mere 29 percent did not. The researchers report that by the time a kid turns 18, only a paltry 10 percent don't mix talking on a cell and driving.

As far as texting and driving, younger teens were more careful about not doing so. Two-thirds of the 15 to 17-year-olds admitted to typing messages with their cells while at the wheel of their cars, and only one-quarter of the older teens chose not to do so, states the LaVoie-led study. Texting a friend or a parent was tops with regards to this form of driving distraction. According to Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governor's Highway Safety Association in Washington D.C., "This is a very critical reminder of the importance parents play in making sure their teens are safe drivers," he told HealthDay. The youthful panel also revealed to clinicians, if they did not answer their parent’s calls while driving, their folks would get angry.

Reportedly about 2,700 teens aged 16 to 19 are killed each year and another 280,000 are treated and released from emergency departments after motor vehicle crashes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Distracted driving causes 11 percent of fatal crashes among teens, and 21 percent of those crashes involve cellphone use, according to a 2013 report by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The bottom line as far as cell phone use and distracted teen drivers is that parents have to model appropriate behavior for their children which includes acting responsibly and abiding by the safety rules of the road. According to LaVoie, "The message here has to be to parents to stop driving distracted themselves and to set ground rules for teens that they should not be using the phone while driving," he added. "Teens follow what their parents do, not what they say."

The researchers recommend that parents first ask their children, if whether they are driving whenever they place a call to them. Word to the wise for moms and dads from the researchers, good parenting is asking your child to ring you back, or pull over to talk, when you call them on their cell while they are at the wheel.

--Car Chick®