Graduates, you did it! Donning a cap and gown to receive a high school diploma is a ritual of transportation into nascent adulthood. Of course, in addition to the actual graduation ceremony, there are the graduation parties and nights out with friends and other celebratory gatherings. It seems that the world is at your feet and you are invincible. However, you aren't.
A recent study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions uncovered some behavioral data about teens that gives us veteran adults heartburn (another milestone in adulthood that you can look forward to). Parents, take note — you play a pretty big role in these stats, too.
- Even though 66 percent of teens know that using music apps while driving is dangerous or distracting, nearly half (46 percent) of licensed teens still admit to using them behind the wheel. It's even worse for navigation apps and GPS: Forty-one percent of teens say they're dangerous or distracting, but 58 percent use them while driving.
- There's some disconnect when it comes to passenger restriction laws. Some 58 percent of parents indicated that they enforce such laws, but only 34 percent of licensed teens say that their parents actually do enforce them. Time to get on the same page with this.
- Despite 76 percent of parents telling their teens to call them for a ride to avoid driving under the influence, only 51 percent of teens would consider doing so. What gives? Just make the call, seriously.
Dr. Gene Beresin, executive director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital and a senior advisor to SADD, offers the following safe driving tips for parents and teens to discuss this graduation season:
- Using apps or taking photos while driving is just as dangerous as texting while driving. Phones should be kept out of sight to avoid potential distractions.
- After a long and exciting graduation day/week/month, teens are bound to be tired. Remind them to call for a ride if they're too tired to drive home late at night, and reassure them that you will pick them up no matter what time it is.
- Set clear expectations for graduation night. This helps teens stay safe and lets parents worry less. Liberty Mutual's Teen Driving Contract is a conversation starter and customized agreement to help parents and teens to get on the same page.
Teens, you made it through high school. Now stay safe on the road so you can make it to life's next milestones.