Fight Distracted Teen Driving with New Interactive Simulator

Happy teen behind the wheel

Next time your teen groans at the thought of a weekend driving lesson, flash a smile and tell the young driver it won't be with you. Let them try a distracted driving simulator, a video-game like experience that creatively inspires teens to keep their eyes on the road.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

Any activity that diverts a driver's attention from the road is distracting. For new, young drivers, these temptations seem like harmless, everyday tasks. From answering a phone call to adjusting the radio station, non-driving activities should be left until the car has come to a complete stop and is safely parked.

The United States government has created a website, Distraction.gov, to educate parents about the dangers of distracted driving with some eye-opening statistics. For example: "Ten percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted."

The site also explains it takes an average of five seconds for a driver to read and respond to a text message. In that short period of time a car traveling at 55mph can drive the length of a football field!

A study from the Pew Research Center titled "Teens and Distracted Driving: Texting, Talking and Other Uses of the Cell Phone Behind the Wheel" discovered that 75 percent of teenagers ages 12-17 own a cellphone, and 66 percent of them use the mobile device for texting. Of those teens who send text messages, one in three in the 16-17 year-old age bracket admits to texting while behind the wheel. Fifty-two percent say they chatted on the phone -- which also counts as distracted driving -- while operating a vehicle.

Making Auto Safety Exciting and Interactive

Toyota’s TeenDrive365 Safety Clinics are popping up across the nation (with events scheduled far into 2015) to help address these dangerous habits. The two-and-a-half hour class teaches road safety and automobile maintenance for both parents and teens -- because we can all use a little tune-up when it comes to driving safety.

The hottest feature of the clinic is the realistic driving simulator that allows teen drivers to find out what happens when they take their eyes off the road for even moment to respond to a text message or apply makeup. The simulator reinforces defensive driving techniques and how to use safety features in the car to make driving both enjoyable and safe.

Michael Rouse, vice president of diversity, philanthropy & community affairs for Toyota in North America and president of the Toyota U.S.A. Foundation, said in a recent press release, “At Toyota, we really believe that the most important safety feature in any car is an educated driver – whether you’re 16 or 60,. That’s why we’ve been committed to offering free education programs, like our Teen Driver Safety Clinics, that bring teens and parents together to learn about ways to be safer behind the wheel.”

The clinic is free and open to anyone who registers on the TeenDrive365 website.

Other Ways to Feel Secure When Your Teen's On the Road

It can be scary letting your teen get behind the wheel. The best way to ease this stress is to ask questions and be prepared.

  • Is your child covered as an additional driver on your auto insurance policy in the event of an accident?
  • If your teen hits another vehicle or someone's property, is it covered?
  • Does your child need special insurance coverage while driving a school-owned vehicle in a driver's education class?

If your teen is taking driving lessons using your vehicle, make safety for your child and others on the road your number one concern. Find out what type of policy and coverage you need by talking with a Trusted Choice® independent agent. They're happy to explain how to add a new family member to an existing policy, and when the time comes, secure their first automobile insurance coverage policy.

Angela Tague, popular blogger

About the author: Angela Tague writes blogs for major brands including Bounty, Lowe's Home Improvement and Hidden Valley. She also provides feature content to newspapers and writes blogs for Daily Glow, Everyday Health and Walgreens.

Angela has worked in news writing since 1998. Her journalism career has led to positions at The Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa, The Sioux City (Iowa) Journal and several weeklies in the Midwest.

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