Teen Drivers Ignoring Cell Phone Bans

According to this article, there has been an uptick of cell phone use in the states where they have banned cell phone use while driving for minors. What I found more troubling, is that in those states most parents didn’t even know about the teen driving law.

“The survey that asked parents and teenagers by phone about the ban, showed that teenage drivers were more likely than parents to say they knew about it: only 39 per cent of parents said they were aware of the new law compared with 64 per cent of teenage drivers.”

I worry when I see evidence of complacency by parents of teenagers. If the law had been that your 2-year-old child needed to be in a double strapped car seat, most parents would know and comply. When our kids get older, we are not only handing over the responsibility of complying with driving laws, but we are also handing over the responsibility to even know what those laws are. Some of that responsibility still remains with us, the parents.

When teaching independence there needs to be checks and balances. You need to check(find out what the laws are, establish your rules) and balance(talk to your teen and follow through with your discipline). In order to find out what the driving laws are for your teen, visit your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website.

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Lest you feel I sound too much like the expert and not enough like a real mom, let me share that my oldest answered her cell phone while driving home from her license test. Her reason? It rang. My wonderful-but-often-too-lenient-husband was flabbergasted. For a man who doesn’t like to do ‘the talks’ in our home, he certainly did a fine job that day. Our family rule: Turn off the cell phone before starting the car.

Link to cell phone laws for each state: http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html

What are your thoughts? What rules have you established with your teen driver?

Source: Denise Witmer, About.com Guide to Parenting Teens since 1997

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