Though campaigns discouraging teens from talking and texting while driving have become widespread, parents say there are other just as dangerous distractions our kids are taking part in behind the wheel. Social media apps like Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook are just a few of the sites distracting teens behind the wheel. And add to that the latest insanely popular gaming app Pokemon Go and you have a recipe for reckless driving.
CNN reports about smartphone use behind the wheel and how texting is not the only distraction smartphones provide while teens drive. Car accidents involving teens playing Pokemon Go while driving have already been reported across the country.
Jennifer Smith is a mother of two and founder of the organization called StopDistractions.org. Smith, who lost her mother when she was hit by a 20 year old talking on a cell phone 8 years ago, explains how times are changing and it’s not just texting or talking to friends on the phone that we have to worry about. Smith says, “As I'm talking to new families, more and more of them are telling me, 'It's Snapchat’.It's Snapchat today, but then what is it tomorrow? You know, we've got the 'Pokemon Go' coming, and then it's the next thing.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that teens are aware of the dangers looking at social media can pose while driving. Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions recently released a very telling survey. While 29% ranked driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs to be the most dangerous activity behind the wheel and 25% ranked writing or sending a text - only 6% believe that posting on social media while driving to be most dangerous.
And another survey by the National Safety Council shows just how prevalent social media use while driving can be. Out of 2,400 drivers of all ages, a whopping 74% they would use Facebook while driving, 37% would use Twitter, 35% would use YouTube and 33% would use Instagram. Matt Boeve, who lost his wife when she was hit by a driver paying a bill on a smartphone while driving, explains that people need to get serious about cutting out their phone use while driving. Boeve says, “People think that it won't happen to them. That's the just way it is. It's sad. We have to retrain ourselves to think that ... no text or phone call is worth putting someone through this.”
What do you think about the dangers of smartphone use while driving?
Are you tempted to look at your phone while behind the wheel?