Create the best distracted driving education program possible with these tips.
Between the beeps, pings, and rings of our phones, tablets, and watches, it seems like there’s constantly some device competing for our attention. And when it comes to teens and their still-developing brains, it’s our job as educators to ensure they understand the importance of driving without distractions.
Read on for some do’s and don’ts of distracted driving education to help strengthen your educational program and help students understand the dangers of becoming distracted while driving.
Do: Use statistics
We certainly don’t want to recite scary statistics as the only method of teaching teens, but some well-placed facts can underscore just how prevalent and dangerous distracted driving can be. Here are a few sobering statistics:
- According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly half a million people each year are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.
- About 7% of fatal crashes were distracted-related, which resulted in over 3,000 deaths.
- A 2019 survey of high school students found that 39% of drivers texted or emailed at least once while driving in the last month.
Don’t: Underestimate the dangers of distracted driving
You may have heard a teen or young adult claim that distracted driving “isn’t that serious” or “driving drunk or high is way more dangerous,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Remind students that distracted driving and driving under the influence are not an either/or question; both are extremely dangerous and can absolutely have deadly consequences.
Do: Use hands-on educational tools
Young people tend to learn best when they can experience something firsthand. Of course, allowing students to actually text while driving would be ill-advised and illegal, but our Fatal Vision® products help simulate what it’s like to drive while distracted. Here are some more of our distracted driving resources that may be useful in your program.
Don’t: Be judgmental
If students feel judged or condescended by an educator, they’re likely not going to feel comfortable sharing with the class. Foster an environment of openness and tolerance in your classroom by sharing personal experiences you or a loved one might have had with distracted driving.
The reality is that distracted driving is something that many drivers have done at one time or another, whether they realize it or not. If we can own it and discuss it, we can also work toward not letting it happen again. You can also share practical, easy-to-implement tips with your students, such as turning off all notifications, sending a text to top contacts to let them know that you’re driving and won’t be reachable, or just putting your cell phone out of reach as soon as you get in the car.