In fact, we have two solutions.
If there is one day that parents universally dread and teens universally adore, it is the day they get their driver's license. Most teenagers long to get behind the wheel of a car, and those who are enthusiasts hope and pray that their parents will help them buy them something cool to drive. While many teens take the privilege of driving a car very seriously, a startling number of individuals take it for granted. An alarming study conducted by Reuters Health found that one in three teens in the US has admitted to texting while driving.
We are firm believers that texting while driving is one of the worst offenses you can perform in a car, second only to driving while drunk. Distracted driving can be extremely dangerous, far more than highly penalized offenses such as speeding. The study asked 101,397 teens age 14 and up, from 35 states (all but one of which has banned texting while driving for drivers 21 and under) whether they have ever texted while driving. Even with laws in place, 38% of respondents admitted to texting while driving at least once.
The study proposes that we use “Social marketing techniques aimed at correcting teens’ misperceptions, such as the belief that their friends engage in distracted driving behaviors more often than they do," and "providing positive incentives for not engaging in texting while driving and in-vehicle cellphone blocking technologies.”
While we agree that phone-blocking technology in cars would be a great solution to the problem, we would like to offer two solutions of our own.
The first is Apple Car Play and Android Auto. These may not be perfect solutions because teens will still be somewhat distracted by having a conversation, but they do allow drivers to dictate their texts by voice and have them read aloud, so they can keep their eyes on the road. Many new cars now come with these systems as standard, and aftermarket head units can be retrofitted into older vehicles.
Our second solution has been around seemingly forever - the manual transmission. The Kia Sportage was recently ranked as the best car for teenagers, and we partially agree because it comes with Android Auto and Apple Car Play. However, in our top five cars for teens feature, we recommended several cars that come with the option of a manual. It is extremely difficult to text and drive when one hand is busy shifting gears. So if you don't want your teen to text and drive, buy them a car with a manual transmission.