Talking to your teen about distracted driving in Missouri

Parents can employ several strategies to keep their teenage driver from using their cellphone while they are operating a vehicle.

Many teenagers in Missouri endanger the lives of others when they use their cellphone to text, talk to their friends or email while they are driving. Since teenage distracted driving is such a widespread problem, the parents of teenagers often wonder how they can prevent their son or daughter from engaging in this dangerous activity.

Preventing dangerous behaviors

Parents who want to keep their teenager from using their cellphone behind the wheel of a vehicle may have success by employing the following strategies:

  • Exhibit safe driving behavior -- Teens who see their parents using their cellphone behind the wheel are more likely to do so themselves. For this reason, parents should refrain from using their phone behind the wheel to model good driving behavior.
  • Implement an earlier curfew--Many teenage driving accidents happen late at night. Parents who want to prevent their teen from involvement in a distracted driving collision may want to consider enforcing an earlier curfew.
  • Talk about it -- Parents should not be afraid to talk to their teen about the dangers of distracted driving. They should also be diligent about enforcing rules banning distraction, even if their teen resists.

Parents should also remember that distracted driving can involve other activities besides just cellphone use, like eating, talking to friends or fiddling with the radio. For this reason, parents should expect their teen to focus on driving alone when they are behind the wheel.

The law in Missouri

The state of Missouri has enacted several distracted driving laws specifically aimed at preventing teens from engaging in dangerous distracted driving activities. For example, according to the Missouri Department of Insurance, it is illegal for drivers under the age of 21 to text and drive. Teenagers caught texting behind the wheel face the possibility of having two points added to their driving record and the requirement to pay a $200 fine.

In addition to these consequences, teenagers who are involved in a car accident because they were distracted could face up to a 50 percent rise in their insurance rates. These elevated rates can last for three to seven years following the accident.

Contact an attorney

Despite the many consequences associated with distracted driving, many teens in Missouri continue to endanger the lives of others when they use their cellphone behind the wheel. Those injured because they were involved in a distracted driving accident should contact an attorney in their area for assistance asserting their legal rights.