Are parents to blame for teen distracted driving in Texas?

A new study found that many teenagers who text and drive behind the wheel of a car are communicating with their parents.

The decision to send a quick text message to a friend, make a phone call while driving through traffic, or even consume breakfast on the way to work can have disastrous consequences for drivers in Texas and others on the road around them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1,060 people are injured and nine people are killed every day in distracted driving accidents.

Distraction also plays a large role in accidents among teenagers. According to a 2011 report released by the National Highway Transportation Administration, cellphones were a factor in 21 percent of collisions involving teen drivers. Although many assume that an addiction to social media or the desire to constantly be connected with friends may tempt teens to use their cellphone while they drive, a new study suggests that parent involvement may also be a cause.

Parents may be part of the problem

According to recent research conducted by the American Psychological Association, 53 percent of the teen participants who admitted that they had talked on their cellphone while driving said that they were speaking with one of their parents. Additionally, 18 percent of all 18-year-olds reported that they texted their parents while operating a vehicle. This raises a dilemma for parents. Many want to know what their child is doing at all times, but don't necessarily want their child talking to them while they are driving.

In addition to these findings, researchers noted that the number of teen drivers who use their cellphone and drive has risen significantly over the past few years, despite greater awareness about its dangers. NBC reports that a 2013 study found that 86 percent of high school juniors and seniors admit to using their cellphone while they're behind the wheel of a car.

Texas cellphone laws

To prevent car accidents caused by distracted driving, the state of Texas has enacted several laws. The Texas Department of Transportation states that:

  • Drivers who have a learners permit are not allowed to use their phone within their first six months of driving.
  • All drivers are prohibited from using cellphones in school crossing zones.
  • Drivers who are under the age of 18 are not allowed to use wireless devices behind the wheel of a car.

However, no statewide ban on using cellphones while driving exists yet and many drivers are put at risk by teenagers and others who choose to use to text or talk on their cellphone while they drive. If you were injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, consult with an attorney who can ensure your rights to proper compensation are protected.

Keywords: texting, distracted driving, accident