Teens and Distracted Driving


Driving while distracted can make it difficult to react during a potential crash, especially for teen drivers.

Distracted driving doesn’t just include being on your cell phone. It can include peer passengers, talking or texting on a cell phone, changing the radio, eating, or applying makeup. All are dangerous distractions.

If the brain is thinking about anything other than driving, it can make it difficult to react during a potential crash, especially for inexperienced teen drivers. Two or more peer passengers more than triples the risk of a fatal crash with a teen behind the wheel. Being distracted while driving doesn’t just cause a risk to you; it puts other drivers at risk. In 2020, there were 265 people who died in crashes that involved distracted teen drivers, ages 15 to 19. Of those 265 deaths, there were 68 deaths just in Colorado. In 2020, there were 186 teens 15 to 19 who were killed in distraction-affected crashes. In 2020, there were 239 distracted teen drivers 15 to 19 involved in fatal crashes.

Even though teens recognize that talking or texting on a cell phone or using social media apps while driving is unsafe, they often engage in these behaviors anyway. Often times kids will get calls from their parents; they think it’s so important that they have to answer. Even if the car has Hands-Free it’s still distracting.

There are many ways to prevent these distractions. Many professionals suggest sending or making a call before you begin driving to give a heads up that you’re driving and cannot talk for however long. You can then leave the phone somewhere it cannot be reached. If answering or making a phone call is important, pull over to do so. If a passenger is in the car, maybe even ask that person to send the text or even change the music.

During a field trip that I took to Memorial Hospital we had trauma nurses, ICU Nurses, and a paramedic talk to us about what they do on a day-to-day basis. As a group we did a bunch of activities and talked about many different distracted driving accidents. We had also talked about how important it is to wear your seatbelt and to stay focused. This really opened my eyes to see how important a seatbelt actually is.

Because it’s up to you, make the right decision. Stay safe and stay off phones.