By now most of us have seen the Allstate commercial where the “Mayhem” character portrays a teenage girl who just found out her crush, Johnny, likes someone else. “Now I’m all emotionally compromised because I like Johnny,” says Mayhem, prior to sideswiping a parked car with his pink Dodge truck.
Although it is an amusing scenario and I have to credit the marketing team at Allstate for their ability to see the humor in a serious situation, distracted driving is no laughing matter. As I mentioned in my last article about personal umbrella policies, distractions can affect anyone and even great drivers can cause accidents.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than 420,000 people were injured in accidents involving a distracted driver in 2013.
The unfortunate reality is that distracted driving has a far greater impact on teenagers than any other group. Considering that car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens in America, accounting for more deaths per year than homicide, suicide, cancer or drugs, it’s easy to see why there is a need to raise awareness about this issue.
There are a variety of distractions affecting drivers, from eating food and talking on the phone to conversing with passengers and changing the music. Texting is the biggest contributor to hazardous driving conditions. It takes five seconds for a driver to text someone. What this means for a car traveling at 55 mph is that the driver will have gone the length of a football field without looking at the road, simply in the interest of sending a text message.
In fact, text messaging makes a crash up to 23 times more likely. This is because texting involves the longest eyes-off-the-road time of all the distracted driving activities.
So what can parents do?
One effective tactic for prevention is to set a good example. In a survey conducted by Allstate, nearly 50 percent of teenage drivers indicated they modeled their driving behavior after their parents.
Education, awareness and training are also viable strategies for staying safe behind the wheel. The Allstate Foundation, which compiled most of the statistics in this article, has put together a comprehensive series of tips for teenage drivers as well as their parents. There are step-by-step guides aimed at drivers with their learner’s permits and drivers under 20 with minimal experience. The parent-driver agreement that I have on file is also a useful tool for starting a conversation with a teen about distracted driving.
It’s worthwhile to mention that a personal umbrella policy can offer an effective financial safeguard against large and potentially devastating liability claims or judgments. Any parent of a teenage driver should strongly consider one of these policies, since they kick in when liability limits have been reached for a standard auto, boat or homeowners’ insurance policy.
Parents of nearly eight teens a day learn their child has died in a car crash. Taking a few steps aimed at prevention can have a positive impact.
Here is a link to an Allstate YouTube video regarding the parent-child driving contract: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVWig-Lps6k
Please call me today for the free educational materials listed above, or to find out more about personal umbrella policies, at 910-599-9071 or [email protected].
Will Brown is the owner of the Will Brown Insurance Agency LLC, and represents Allstate Insurance Company. Brown and his staff offer property, casualty, health and life insurance, as well as personal financial services and Allstate Benefits, one of the nation’s leading voluntary benefit plans. The Will Brown Insurance Agency has a comprehensive protection and investment product portfolio, with a strong commitment to serving families and small businesses in an advisory role. Will Brown may be reached at (910) 599-9071, or by email at [email protected]. To learn more about the Will Brown Insurance Agency, click here.
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