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Parenting: Keep Your Teen From Distracted Driving

Distracted driving can be about more than just texting — and many admit to multi-tasking while behind the steering wheel.

The sun is shining, the seniors are out of high school and families are packing up for vacations.

It is a time that our cars become our friends, taking us to places we’ve never ventured or places we hope to visit. The world seems more open during the longer days. Our minds are on sunscreen, bathing suits, camping gear and flip flops. Our cars are packed, our fun tunes are blasting and we’re on our way!

The furthest thing from our mind is: An accident.

We don’t think of the fact that answering a text takes away our attention for about five seconds. That is enough time to travel the length of a football field.

We don’t think that approximately 86 percent of drivers in a 2011 survey said they ate or drank while driving, and 57 percent said they do so “sometimes” or “often,” according to a report that is quoted in an article on Rodale.com.

According to the same HealthDay poll taken in 2011, our minds aren’t focused on the fact that a teen driver riding with one other passenger doubles the risk of being involved in a fatal car crash.

With two or more passengers, the risk increases to five times as likely. We don’t think of the fact that the majority of Americans believe that talking on the phone and texting are two of the most dangerous behaviors that occur behind the wheel. Yet, as many as 81 percent of drivers admit to making phone calls while driving.

Oprah Winfrey became quite active in the fight against distracted driving by offering a “No Phone Zone Pledge.” Log on to this site and have every driving member of your family submit their pledge! This opens up the discussion and the concern and love you have for your family members. Visit the link to pledge by clicking here. (No money is involved!)

So turn off the phone and stuff it in the suitcase or backpack in the far reaches of the car. No call or text is worth your friends’ or your family members’ lives. Don those flip flops, slather on the sunscreen and have a fun-filled summer exploring and connecting in other ways than electronically.

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