Grimes & Fertitta, P.C.

One more distraction for teen drivers: Their parents

If you've watched the distracted driving conversation in recent years, you know that a lot of it focuses on teen drivers. Critics note that they tend to talk on their cellphones, send text messages, talk to friends in the car, take pictures, listen to music, eat snacks and engage in a host of other distracting activities.

Well, it's important to add one more distraction to the list. It looks like their parents, the very people who should be teaching them safe driving practices, are often to blame.

Watching too closely?

The problem may be that parents tend to get too involved in their kids' lives. Perhaps in the name of safety itself, they want to know what the kids are doing at all hours. They want the kids to check in. They'll do whatever it takes to find out what they are up to, even if that means calling them while they are in the car.

"Teens told us parents really expected to keep track of them, and they are expected to answer the phone if the parent calls," said one psychologist who studied the issue. "In some cases, the parent might continue to call until the teen answers."

Maybe parents really are watching their children a bit too closely. If they're willing to put them in danger just to check in, they may be better off to just trust the children a bit more and allow them to call back when it is safe to do so.

"It was just very surprising to see how directly parents are involved," the psychologist continued. "What we do know for sure is if parents would not call their teens while they're driving, it would reduce teen distracted driving."

Teenagers are prime targets

Part of the blame does fall on the teens. Another professional involved with the study noted that they tend to think they can safely multitask, even when they can't. They have an overconfidence that leads them to take risks.

This makes them prime targets for distraction. If they feel pressure to answer a parent's call and they feel like the distraction won't cause them to crash -- regardless of what the statistics tell us -- then there is nothing holding them back. They are going to pick up the phone, even when driving in heavy traffic and even with very little driving experience under their belt. And that is going to lead to more accidents.

Your rights after an accident

Have you gotten injured in an accident with a distracted teenage driver? Regardless of the cause of that distraction, you need to know your rights and how you can seek financial compensation for all of your costs.

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