10 Rules for Teen Driving

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Diversions & Distractions

We all know that dialing and chatting on a phone makes it harder to concentrate on the road. In fact, 94 percent of parents who responded to the State Farm survey said they tell their kids not to do it even though 65 percent of them are guilty of that very crime.

Of course, kids follow suit. A whopping 89 percent of teenagers said that their peers chat on cell phones while driving. What makes this especially dangerous is that distractions can affect a 17-year-old more than they would an adult, who has more mature judgment and has been driving for much longer, says Laurence Steinberg, PhD, a psychology professor at Temple University. "Teens are proven to be more impulsive and less attentive, especially behind the wheel."

Until now parents and safety experts have thought that girls are likelier than boys to be talking -- or worse, texting -- behind the wheel. But that may be changing. "As technology gets more sophisticated and you can put cool games and music on your phone, I definitely notice boys using electronic devices more," says Eric Sommer, an 18-year-old senior at Gibson City Melvin Sibley High School, in Gibson City, Illinois. "It may be okay when a passenger is gaming, but it gets dangerous when he reaches over to show the driver the great score he got. And by the way, iPods and MP3 players are just as bad, because you have to look at the screen to program them."

Continued on page 3:  The Dangers of Drowsiness

 

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