Distracted driving is one of the biggest challenges to road safety, especially among teen drivers. In an age of smartphones, safety advocates can’t seem to get young people to focus on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), 8 people are injured by a distracted driver every day, and more than a thousand are injured each year. A new educational program is looking to change that. It’s relying on research to build an effect system for convincing teens to turn off the phone.
Can Education Stop Distracted Driving?
Some might be skeptical that an educational program will make a difference. After all, haven’t parents and educators have been warning kids about texting and driving for years? However, maybe we’ll see results with a more drastic approach. The program is called Get the Message. It uses surveying to get a sense for how teens view distracted driving, then targets misconceptions to help them understand the dangers.
The program has four section. It walks teens through how visual, manual and cognitive distraction each present a danger on the road. The program then demonstrates the tragic impact that these car accidents have on victims. It takes kids through the journey that a patient goes through after a critical injury. This section is meant to give the program an emotional resonance.
Get the Message is relatively new, so it will take some time to know how it will impact safety. Initial surveys from teens who took the program seem very positive. Kids report a much higher concern for the dangers, and claim that they are now less likely to text and drive.
Let’s hope that programs like this continue to develop and grow. We need every tool we can get in the fight against distracted driving. The cost of accidents is just too high.