Options to Deter Teens from Using Handheld Devices While Driving

Options to stop your teen from texting and driving

The temptation to interact with our electronic devices while driving is almost too much to resist, especially for teens.

Many experts believe that this problem caused by technological advances can be solved with technological solutions. Rendering handheld devices from working when the car is moving is only one clever option. 

Apps That can Help Your Teen Avoid Distractions

Obviously, teens are the most at-risk when driving because of their inexperience on the roads.

Teenagers’ lack of experience on the roads combined with distractions results too many preventable serious injuries and deaths among our young people.

Fortunately, there are some tools out there that concerned parents can utilize to stop their teens from the dangerous practice of texting and driving.

Consumer Reports recently shared a sampling of options that can deter teens from driving distracted:

Bluetooth Hands-free Aids

Many vehicles now come with a built-in Bluetooth system that connects wirelessly with your phone. Incoming calls can be handled without reaching for a device. Bluetooth headsets are another option.

Smartphone Apps

There are now apps that can turn off the phone when the vehicle is in motion via detection through the phone’s GPS receiver or Bluetooth. Some of these apps are free, and they are able to:

  • notify parents when deactivated
  • give automatic replies while you are driving
  • restrict the phone when the vehicle is in motion
  • call 911

Devices Connected to Dashboard Vehicle Port

These work similar to apps by restricting phone use while teens are driving. These types of devices will not drain your phone’s battery as much as an app will, and they are tamper-proof because parents can set a code to unlock them.

Monitoring Systems

These systems track your teen’s driving behavior and speed via cameras, special phones, etc. When the vehicle is in motion, the system activates and information is collected and logged. Parents can then view data reports provided to them by various companies who offer this option.

Additional apps that might be worth checking out are provided by cell phone carriers. They include:

If you have a teen driver, I encourage you to look into using one of these options. It could possibly save your teen’s life or the life of another driver. As always, drive safely!

source: Mashable


Study Shows Just Knowing You Have a Text Message Can Distract Your Driving

Cell phone ring and vibration can cause distraction for drivers.

A new study recently published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology (called Human Perception and Performance) shows that hearing your mobile phone ring or feeling it vibrate while driving is just as distracting as sending as texting or talking.

We all know already how dangerous it is to text or talk while driving. This study is significant because it is the first to show that even being aware of a message or a missed can be a dangerous distraction when driving.

Researchers wrote in the study that they are shocked to learn just how much something so simple can be so distracting to drivers. Although a ringing or vibrating phone is a short distraction, it requires the driver’s mind to wander from the task of driving, even when their eyes may still be on the road.

Lead author of the study, Cary Stothart, stated in a news release that,

Even a slight distraction can have severe, potentially life-threatening effects if that distraction occurs at the wrong time.

Participants in the study performed a computer task while there were no distractions, and again when they received calls or text message alerts on their cellphones. The study showed that the participants made about three times as many mistakes on the computer task when they were distracted.

It only takes a split second to be physically or cognitively distracted for tragedy to occur, so the best solution for cell phone distraction altogether is to turn off phones and put them away when driving.

Source: HealthDay News



How to Talk to Teens About Deadly Distracted Driving

Attorney Kay Van Wey helps teen drivers become aware of distracted driving danger.

May is Global Youth Teen Safety Month.

Car accidents have become the number one killer of teenagers today, and the majority of these deaths could have been prevented. One way you can help deter the distracted driving behaviors of your teen is by talking to them about how easy it is to become seriously injured or killed when using a device while driving.

Global Youth Traffic Safety Month runs through May, one of the deadliest months for teen drivers (the other being July). Many proms and graduations happen this month, and many teens will be driving more through the summer months, so this is the perfect time to sit your teen down and potentially save his or her life by talking about distracted driving dangers.

There is a lot of very helpful information out there that can help you have an extremely effective conversation with your teen and distracter driving. Here are a few great resources:

What You Need to Know About Distracted Driving in Texas

Health Tip: Talk to Teens About Distracted Driving

NDDTSEA | Talking to Teens

Commentary: Talk to Your Teens About Distracted Driving

Global Youth Traffic Safety Month® (GYTSM) was formed in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to support the United Nations 2007 Global Road Safety Week. It is a month long campaign during May that asks youth organizations to engage in teen traffic safety projects in their communities.

They also offer a toolkit for ideas of projects and youths are challenged to discover unique ways to address teen driver safety. GYTSM is a month-long campaign during May asking youth groups (often chapters of coalition member organizations) to engage in teen traffic safety projects in their communities. They have had great success and many lives have been saved as a result.

If interested, they conduct a Teen Driving Summit, a social media campaign where teens can interact and send safety messages, and contests for teens to create their own service announcements. Their guide is available and is extremely helpful when faced with talking to your teen seriously.

For more information on what you can do to end distracted driving, download our free book, Distracted to Death, instantly. Remember to always set a great example by making sure your phone is put away while you are driving. Kids learn mostly from what we do as well as what we say!


Distraction a Factor in 6 Out of 10 Teen Crashes

Teen Distracted Driving Crashes

Car Crashes are the Leading Cause of Death for Teens in America today.

A compelling new study reveals that distractions, especially using mobile phones and talking with friends in the car, are a factor in 6 out of 10 teen crashes. For the first time, researchers had access to thousands of videos mounted in the cars of teens that show exactly what was going on before the crash and what caused the crash. The study confirms that distractions play a far greater role in teen crashes than previously believed.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety took a close look at 1,700 videos of teens’ actions right before they crashed and found that the rate of distractions that cause crashes is actually four times more than previously estimated.

In addition, CBS Chicago reports that chatting with other people in the car caused more crashes than using mobile devices.

The the following video is quite an eye opener, especially for those of us who have teens on the roadways today. It’s one that you may want your teens to see so they can understand that it takes only seconds for an accident to happen when your eyes are taken off the road.

This is yet another indication of how important it is to discuss the dangers of distracted driving with teens on a regular basis.




Will Texas Ban Texting and Driving as Forty Four Other States Have?

Will Texas ban texting and driving?
© Khalilok | Dreamstime.com – Capitol Photo

The front page of the Dallas Morning News on February 3rd provided an update on texting and driving laws in Texas. There are very few states left who have not yet banned texting and driving, and Texas is one of them. Forty four states have banned texting and driving, and of those forty four, 14 have banned the use of handheld devices at all while driving.

Those who are fighting for Texas to join the other forty four states who no longer allow this practice are hoping Governor Greg Abbott will stand with them. In 2011, Rick Perry vetoed a texting ban that the Legislature had passed. Many feel that this law is merely common sense, like seatbelt laws, and badly needed to stop senseless, preventable deaths on Texas roadways.

What do you think? Should the use of cell phones while driving be banned? Leave a comment below.

To learn more about the dangers of distracted driving, get your free copy of  Distracted to Death, a resource that explains how you can help end distracted driving and save lives.

Original Source: Texting-While-Driving Foes Push for State Law in Austin


What You Need to Know about Distracted Driving in Texas

Dangers of distracted driving in Texas from Kay Van Wey, Personal Injury Attorney

Experts now call distracted driving an epidemic because incidents that end in gruesome accidents across the country are becoming more and more common as a result of people looking at their phones while driving.

Distracted driving can come in many forms, not just through the use of a cellular phone to text. Talking to other people in the car, eating, changing radio stations, or even talking on hands free devices all pull attention away from the road.

One of the most vulnerable populations is teenagers, who are already at a heightened risk of being involved in an accident. Parents of teen drivers can help their newly minted drivers be aware of the risks of texting and driving, but also all forms of distracted driving. Doing so may just save their own life, and also the lives of others on the road, like those in passenger vehicles, pedestrians, and even cyclists across Texas.

Sadly, family members every day have to say goodbye to loved ones who have perished as a result of a distracted driving incident. No matter what the cause, it’s hard to grieve and move on when you know that your loved one’s death was completely preventable and senseless. There is no phone call or text that is worth a life lost.

There has been a spike in the number of laws dedicated to the distracted driving issue. Around the country, but also right here at home in Texas, lawmakers have been considering regulations that will hopefully deter behavior and cut down on the number of terrible auto accidents that are claiming these lives.

Even though 1 in 5 crashes in the state of Texas can be linked directly to distracted driving, Texas is one of only a handful of states that does not have a ban on texting at the wheel. Other states, like Oklahoma, Montana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Arizona are also catching flak for failing to respond to this growing problem on their roads.

The argument, according to lawmakers, is whether or not it’s a violation of personal freedoms for legislators to mandate that drivers put their phones down or face serious consequences. A measure to ban texting and driving already came through Texas several years ago, but it was vetoed by Governor Rick Perry who believed that the measure was “government micromanagement.”

It’s not as though nothing has been done, however. Texting and driving is banned in school zones and cities are allowed to pass bans as they wish, but no statewide measures have been successful yet at cutting down on the practice. Several cities, like Austin and San Antonio, have already shown some initiative in banning the practice, allowing police to write tickets for those who are caught texting behind the wheel.

It is important that we all do our part by putting our phones down while driving, and urging others who are driving to do the same. It only takes a split second for tragedy to strike. Once it does, there is no going back. Please think twice about your safety and the safety of those around you on Texas roadways and let’s bring this epidemic to a halt.

To learn more about what you can do to make a difference, download my free EBook, Distracted to Death, today.


Distracted Driving Shatters Lives

Distracted Driving Kills Innocent Victims

Know the True Dangers

With car crashes being the leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States, it is imperative to show how distracted driving shatters lives so everyone can fully understand the risks faced while on the road.  Driving deserves the driver’s full attention because many lives are on the line while traveling on back roads, highways and interstates. There are many distractions that a driver may encounter while behind the wheel, but the leading one today is texting.

More than 70 percent of adults and teens have admitted to texting while driving. Research shows that the average driver takes their eyes off the road five seconds while texting. While five seconds doesn’t seem long at all, it is long enough to result in an accident that can shatter lives. As an example, if a car is traveling at 55 mph, five seconds gives them enough time to travel the length of a football field, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI).

Data released by VTTI also shows that drivers who become involved in visual-manual sub-tasks, which include texting, dialing or reaching for a phone, are three times more likely to get into a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2012 that 11% of all drivers younger than 20 who were involved in fatal crashes that year were reportedly distracted during the crash.

States Enacting Laws

Many states have enacted laws that crack down on distracted driving, and more efforts are underway to promote the awareness of the dangers. The NHTSA reports everyday more than 1,060 people being injured and more than 9 people being killed in crashes on U.S. roadways in accidents that involve a distracted driver. These are injuries that could be prevented and lives that could be saved if the message just gets out detailing the actual dangers.

There are three main kinds of distracted driving – visual, manual and cognitive, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Visual involves taking one’s eyes off the road, manual means taking one’s hands off the steering wheel, and cognitive involves taking your mind off what you are doing … driving. The instances of distracted driving in the U.S. are much greater than those reported across Europe.

Powerful Public Service Announcement

Several European countries have launched successful distracted driving campaigns that feature public service announcements aired on public television that show violent crashes resulting from distracted driving that involve serious injury and death. Because it seems as though those graphic ads have proven effective, the U.S. has now followed suit. The new ad campaign is kicking off National Distracted Driving Month.

The new PSA, which was done by The Tombras Group, targets teens. It is short and gets straight to the point while showing a car filled with happy teens driving down the highway up until the point where the driver gets a text message as the car is nearing an intersection. Of course, she darts her eye from the road for just a second, but that is long enough to run a stop sign and go directly into the path of another vehicle.

Perhaps those who view the new ad will wake up and become aware of the dangers of distracted driving. It is definitely riveting. With the theme, “U drive. U text. U pay.” hopefully teens will get the message. For more information on what you can do to end distracted driving, visit JustPutitDown.com, my campaign to end this senseless act. Take the pledge and grab a free EBook to share with family and friends.


Texting and Driving Research Points Finger at Adults, Not Teens


Though teens have had the spotlight as reckless distracted drivers, research now suggests that adults seem to be texting and driving just as much. Teens have been the subject of many campaigns about safe driving and distracted driving habits, but new research says that adults might be more to blame than previously thought.

Distracted driving behavior has received a lot of attention lately as lawmakers look for ways to make it safer for everyone on the road. Teen drivers have a disproportionate number of accidents on the road, and their reliance on cell phones and text messaging has earned them a reputation as some of America’s most dangerous drivers.

Just How Dangerous Is Distracted Driving?

According to research from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, driving distracted reduces a vehicle operator’s ability to take in the road and respond quickly to developing situations, like traffic. Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (an umbrella which covers texting, dialing, and even reaching for the phone) increases a driver’s likelihood of getting into an accident by as much as three times.

In the study, text messaging and browsing the internet resulted in the longest period during which drivers took their eyes off the road. For those drivers who were text messaging, they, on average, took their eyes away from the road for about 23 seconds total. Even portable hands-free devices that used visual-manual tasks at least half the time (like dialing a number from a vehicle dashboard) increased a driver’s chances of an accident.

Even the act of reaching for the phone or pressing the “end call” button force a driver to pull his or her attention away from the road. During that time, the driver could even lose control of the vehicle or hit another car, pedestrian, or biker. The risk of serious accidents as a result of texting is part of the reason that many states have instituted bans on texting and driving.

What About Adults?

Research from AT&T shows that adults may be more to blame than teenagers when it comes to texting. While nearly all adults (98 percent) admit that they know the behavior is wrong, only half of teenagers indicated that they were aware the behavior was wrong, dangerous, or illegal. Currently, 39 states forbid texting and driving by all drivers, but a handful of other states ban the practice for new drivers alone. This new research shows that texting and driving is dangerous for everyone.

There are about 10 million teen drivers on the road, but there are 180 million adult drivers sharing those same roads. Studies from the Centers for Disease Control show that as many as one-third of those adult drivers have admitted to texting or browsing the web while operating a vehicle.

The Sad Statistics

Every day, nine people are killed and over 1,000 individuals are injured in accidents where distracted driving was a critical component of the incident. While the government doesn’t specifically track crashes that occurred as a result of texting and driving, it’s still considered the most dangerous distraction activity on the road. That’s because texting requires the hands, the mind, and the eyes, leaving little attention on the driving situation.

I am Kay Van Wey of Van Wey Law, and I am committed to eliminating this activity that is taking so many lives needlessly. My campaign, Just Put it Down, urges teens and adults to take a pledge and promise to put phones down when behind the wheel. It’s just not worth it. Visit www.JustPutitDown.com with your family members and take a pledge that takes less than 30 seconds, but could save a life.




A Cultural Shift is Needed to Curb Distracted Driving Epidemic

Lexblog Interview with attorney Kay Van Way

Kay Van Wey urges citizens to pledge against distracted driving

The campaigns and other efforts that attempt to stop distracted driving are helpful. But Kay Van Wey believes, and statistics are showing, these campaigns are simply not enough. She states in her interview with Lexblog that,

“…despite that, there are still over 3,300 deaths each year and over 400,000 injuries from all distracted driving incidents. 1 in 10 are involving pedestrians.”

Kay Van Wey’s Just Put it Down campaign urges citizens to take a pledge against distracted driving. What is really needed, according to Van Wey, is a change in thinking. When driving, we need to place our focus on the road, put the cell phones down, and realize being in touch with others is not as important as being safe on the roads.

Here is the video clip of Van Wey’s excellent points about a major cultural shift that can change lives:

Join Texas attorney Kay Van Wey by taking the Just Put it Down pledge with your friends and family. You too can make a positive impact.



Pedestrian on Bike Struck by Distracted Driver

Texas distracted driving attorney Kay Van Wey is passionate about ending the senseless injuries and deaths that are caused by cell phone use while driving. She is asking everyone to visit her website, JustPutitDown.com, and join her in this battle by taking a quick pledge.  Commit to putting your phone away while driving…Every pledge counts, and every life is worth saving from this senselessness.

With all the awareness efforts, shocking statistics and lives lost from distracted drivers using cell phones, it would seem people would begin putting their phones down. Unfortunately, they’re still taking their chances with their own lives and the lives of others.

Corky Rawdon from Farmer’s Branch, Texas is one of the most recent victims of distracted driving.

Corky Rawdon is feeling pretty lucky these days…

He was out on a nice day enjoying a bike ride near his home when, out of nowhere, a white SUV rear-ended him. The driver, who said he was looking at his phone for directions, was given a ticket and sent on his way.

Corky was riding on the right hand side of Valley View Lane, near Oren Good Park when he was rear-ended. He merely remembers being on the ground and trying to move his arms and legs, hoping he wasn’t paralyzed. He was very lucky. His demolished $5,000 racing bike lay nearby on the ground.

Michael Allen Pete, the driver, got out of his 2003 GMC Envoy and repeatedly apologized to Rawdon, admitting that he was, “…looking down and didn’t look up in time. According to James MacPhail, the Farmer’s Branch investigating police officer, Pete was late to a soccer game he had planned on refereeing.

MacPhail wrote in the accident report that Pete was looking down at his cell phone GPS while travelling 35 mph, and looked back up at the road only to notice the driver too late. He struck Rawdon, causing injury.

“Driver of Unit 1 reports that he was traveling at 35 mph and became distracted by his cell phone GPS,” MacPhail wrote in the accident report. “Driver glanced down to view the phone and as he looked back at the road, he saw the cyclist. Unit 1 struck the cyclist causing injury.”

Pete was cited on the scene for failure to produce proof of insurance and sent on his way. Rawdon stated in a recent interview that he had not seen or heard from the driver.

Rawdon was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital by ambulance and suffered a cracked vertebra in his lower back.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, cell phone use was a contributing factor in over 3,000 vehicle crashes in 2012. An estimated 35 “fatality crashes” in that same year were related to cell phone use. Over 1,300 crashes produced injuries. According to experts, the actual numbers are much higher.

In Texas, this is what must happen in order for an officer to list a cell phone as a contributing factor:

  1. The officer must see the driver using the phone, or
  2. The driver must admit to using a cell phone.

Pete did admit using his cell phone when the accident occurred, allowing officers to include it in their report. Knowing how difficult it must be for either of these actions to occur, it’s not hard to imagine how many cases we truly never hear about.

Where Does Texas Stand?

  • 41 states have banned texting while driving, but Texas has not as of yet.
  • In Texas, it is against the law to use a cell phone in school zones or if you are under 18 years of age.
  • 24 cities have passed ordinances banning various forms of cell phone use while driving, mostly texting.
  • El Paso is the only city who has banned cell phone use altogether while driving.
  • Arlington and Grand Prairie have passed ordinances making texting while driving a ticketable offense, but are allowing dash-mounted GPS units.
  • Dallas has not taken any action yet.

City officials on the scene believe the problem is getting worse. (Source: dallasnews.com)

Do Your Part, Take the Pledge

Where do you stand on cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle? Are you willing to put your phone down? Make a commitment by joining Texas distracted driving attorney Kay Van Wey of Van Wey Law in taking the “Just Put it Down” pledge. She is doing her part to decrease the problem, and every pledge makes a difference.

If you become injured or a loved one suffers fatal injuries due to a car accident involving a distracted driver, call Van Wey Law for a free consultation. If you are seriously injured, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills, pain, and suffering.

Cyclist Suffers Broken BackFor more information on protecting yourself or a loved one who has been involved in a car accident, grab Kay’s free ebook resource, Ultimate Guide for Texas Car Accident Victims.  When you’ve been seriously injured due to another’s negligence, it’s important to have an experienced accident attorney on your side.

Important Tips for How to Protect Yourself after a Texas Car Accident