• How to get drivers to stop texting

    Date: 05.20.10 | by Judge Tom.

    You have undoubtedly heard the national debate regarding texting while driving [TWD].  Some say laws should be passed prohibiting the practice.  Opponents argue that it’s a matter of individual rights – that there doesn’t need to be a law for everything.  Those opposed also contend that a TWD law would be difficult to enforce.

    Larry Zou

    Regardless of whether there is a law or not, what about common sense?  Shouldn’t that count for something?  Is there a law saying you shouldn’t run into a burning building?  Probably not – most people are aware of the obvious. TWD is in the same category.  Driving a car requires your eyes to be on the road not looking down typing or reading a message. Driving “intexticated” should be outlawed across the nation. Statistics show that TWD is more dangerous than driving drunk.

    If you’re a passenger in a friend’s car and he or she is texting while driving, what do you do?  Ignore it and hope for the best?  What if your little sister or brother is also in the car?  Do you still want the driver to be texting while driving?

    Try the following to get your point across:

    The direct approach:  Tell your friend that you get nervous when people text and drive.  Most people will agree that it’s not smart and will put the phone down.

    A subtle approach:  Offer to read or send a message for the driver “since you’re driving.”  Comment on how many police you’ve seen out today or point out something the driver didn’t see while texting.  Then comment that texting and driving makes you nervous since you don’t know if the driver in front or behind you is also texting.

    Point out a bad driver:  That gives you a chance to say “He’s probably texting.”  Turn it into a game where points are scored for spotting traffic violations or even other texters. That way your driver is keeping his eyes and mind on driving.

    The group approach:  If you’re with a bunch of friends and you all agree about one person’s bad driving habits, speak up.  Either get the keys or let him know as a group that you’d prefer he not drive.  That way he’ll get the point and hopefully improve in time.

    Just say “No:”  If a friend makes fun of you for making an issue out of TWD, then simply don’t drive with him.  Or blame your parents by saying “My dad won’t let me drive with you because you text while driving.”  A little shame may make a difference.

    If you’re in a car and an adult is the driver and texting, be more direct. After all, they tell you not to drink and drive.  So tell them to stop texting until you get to your destination.

    [Tips from KidsHealth.org]

    Watch this video now about the deadly consequences of TWD:

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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