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Apps and vehicle technology address problem of distracted driving

Distracted driving is an issue that affects everyone across the country, including in New Jersey. Anyone can drive while distracted, but this danger is particularly prevalent among drivers under the age of 20. Why? Cellphone use, of course, is tempting for teenagers and young adults, even while behind the wheel.

The statistics involved in teenage distracted driving are sobering. According to Distraction.gov, driver distraction was reported as the cause of 10 percent of accidents across the country involving drivers ages 20 and under. In a survey, 20 percent of teenagers said they regularly had lengthy texting conversations while on the road.

Is there anything that parents can do to help keep their children safe from this common issue when they’re new to driving? One of the most effective ways to achieve this is to set a good example – when parents are courteous behind the wheel and follow traffic rules, teenagers are more likely to follow suit. This includes wearing a seatbelt, obeying the speed limit and not using electronics while driving. Numerous resources are available online, including at Distraction.gov, that can help parents talk to their children about driving safety. Many of them put a particular emphasis on distracted driving.

Technology is also starting to catch up with the times. For example, states CBS New York, some car manufacturers are installing software that disables the radio when the seatbelts are unbuckled or allows parents to set a maximum speed limit for their teenagers. Several apps, such as “Key 2 Safe Driving” and “Text Arrest,” will prevent texting from working on cellphones while the teen is driving.

It is to be hoped that new technologies such as these, combined with wise parenting, can help teenagers make smart decisions about distracted driving and avoid causing serious accidents.

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