Using our communication and socialization skills with grandchildren can be a challenge for grands at any time, no less in a moving vehicle. With today’s technology our grandchildren know how to text and tweet before they can write and speak. It may be a challenge to stop teens and tweens from using modern technology in the passenger seats while driving to the playground or the soccer field, but the best thing we can do as grandparents is to not do the same while driving.
Studies at the University of Utah show that 70 percent of accidents involving teens are caused by sending and receiving text messages. That is equivalent to drinking and driving with two times the legal limit of alcohol. Many states have outlawed both cell phone use (other than hands free) and texting while driving. In some instances there is also a ban on teens using hands-free devices for their phones.
Granted, I don’t text well standing up, let alone while driving, but I do use my cell phone hands-free in the car. I have a Bluetooth earpiece, while many newer-model cars have this feature included. Even with these precautions, pulling over to take a call or a text message is the safest bet.
If our grandchildren, even as young as 2 years old, see us fumble for the cell phone, take one hand off the wheel and start talking or texting while driving, they will think it’s okay. Operating these devices in this fashion can be deadly; just ask those people who have lost their loved ones to someone who was texting or talking on their cell phone [http://www.aaafoundation.org/home/].
Three-letter acronyms can be used to shorten a word or sentence, but texting while driving can shorten the life of another driver, a pedestrian or our loved ones [http://www.journalofvision.org/3/9/157/]. We need to be conscious of our actions while driving and be role models for our grandkids.
Cathy Droz is a test-car driver for the boomer generation [http://www.grandmashotwheels.info/]. She and her on-air partner review autos on their Phoenix radio show. To hear their podcasts, click here [www.twofortheroadusa.com] and then click on the radio show link.
Texting while driving is bad news
Robert Siegel and Madeleine Brand of NPR’s “All Things Considered” interview reporter Jenny Brundin [audio]: [http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=113035255&m=113088199], or read it here: [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113035255].
Matt Richtel of The New York Times in a CNBC interview [video]: [http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/07/28/technology/1247463689318/the-dangers-of-texting-while-driving.html].
Ray Suarez of PBS NewsHour interviews Prof. David Strayer of the University of Utah [video]: [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/video/blog/2009/07/texting_and_driving_a_dangerou.html].
Jenny Brundin of KUER Salt Lake City reports on the Key2SafeDriving device that disables texting while driving [audio]: [http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wkms/news.newsmain/article/0/0/1554259/Regional.Headlines/Parents.can.block.teen.texting..talking.in.cars].