Easy Ways To Reduce Teen Text Distractions

The Insurance Bureau of Canada reports that 75% of Canadian drivers admit to texting and driving, and that drivers are 23 times more likely to crash while texting and driving.

New data has researchers thinking a multipronged approach of financial incentives and phone disabling apps could reduce those figures.

“More than half of teens in the United States admit to texting while driving,” said Kit Delgado, assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at Penn and lead author of a recent study on distracted driving and teenagers. “A phone setting or third-party app that automatically responds to incoming texts, yet leaves navigation and music functions accessible could curb this epidemic.”

Last year Apple rolled out a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” function for iPhones. This optional feature locks the screen, halts incoming texts and sends automatic replies, and limits incoming calls.

Delgao suggested that appealing to a teen’s wallet could also prove effective.

He pointed to insurance incentive programs that reward drivers who enable the “Do not disturb while driving” function on their smartphone.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada points out three things regarding distracted driving.

  • It’s illegal. All provinces in Canada, plus the Yukon and Northwest Territories, enforce bans on using cellphones or hand-held electronic devices while driving. Stiff fines and demerit points are common penalties.
  • It’s dangerous. A distracted driver may fail to see up to 50% of their surroundings.
  • Nearly 80% of collisions and 65% of near-collisions involved some form of driver inattention in the three seconds prior to the event.