Preventing Teen Distracted Driving

Werner Herzog, acclaimed director of films like "Grizzly Man" and "Rescue Dawn," made a 30-minute documentary called "From One Second to the Next" that tells four stories about people whose lives were changed forever or taken away by a driver who was texting.

It's tough to watch, but that's the point - and one that you, Mom and Dad, have to make to your teenagers so they NEVER text (or talk on the phone) while driving. Car accidents are the No. 1 accidental cause of death among teens. Texting while driving makes it 24 times more likely that your kid will be involved in an accident. By the way, that applies to parents too.

Unfortunately, scare tactics and in-depth conversations don't always work. That's why researchers at the University of Washington's Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center explored more effective ways to protect teen drivers from distracted driving.

Using two available technologies - an in-vehicle camera that's triggered by hard braking, fast cornering or an impact; and a device that blocks cellphone calls/texts while the car is on - they tracked 29 teen drivers for six months. In the groups using those devices, high-risk incidents and accidents were slashed by 80 percent; the call blocker was slightly more effective than the video.

Our suggestion? Watch Herzog's documentary with your teen (Google the title to find it online), talk about the risks of distracted driving and consider installing a call blocker. It can save lives and keep your teen (and you - admit it, you sometimes break the rules, too!) from making a terrible mistake.

© 2015 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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