April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and as usual, parents are being urged to admonish their teenage drivers about the dangers of texting behind the wheel.
But this year there’s a new twist. Teens are being urged to have a distracted driving talk with their parents since research shows a growing number of adults are doing the very thing they tell their children not to do.
Research done at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing shows that one in three parents read text messages and one in seven use social media while driving their young children.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports more than 1,000 injuries a day in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.
Catalysts for change
Honda is among major corporations getting behind the campaign to flip the script when it comes to distracted driving.
"By making children and teens the catalysts for change, Honda's distracted driving campaign takes a nontraditional approach in parent-child dynamics to capture true human emotion and encourage safer driving," said Jessica Fini, social media manager at American Honda Motor. "For the past six years, we have used our social media platforms to promote safer driving during National Distracted Driving Awareness month, and we hope having the text talk will inspire a crucial conversation between teens and parents beyond the month of April."
Other corporations -- especially those that involve either driving or texting -- are getting behind the campaign to enlist children to help their parents be more attentive drivers. Currently, AT&T is airing the commercial below.
The Honda campaign features a video in which teens talk about their parents’ driving habits, then sit down with their parents to discuss their concerns. The families in the video then sign a pledge not to text or look at their mobile devices while driving.
While the CHOP study shows a growing number of adults are distracted by their phones while driving, teens may not be in any position to lecture their parents. A 2018 study led by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that nearly two in five teen drivers text while driving.
Of the 35 states assessed in the study, South Dakota had the highest rate of teen texting and driving, with 64 percent of high school students admitting that they had engaged in the risky driving behavior at least once in the month prior to the survey.