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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Some non-negotiable rules may help save lives

Maybe you’ve seen the dramatic Public Service Announcement on YouTube that graphically illustrates the dangers of texting while driving.* Created by the local police in Gwent, Wales, the video plays like a movie involving a teen texting on her cell phone while driving with two other girls in the car. She veers out of her lane and ultimately there is a multi-vehicle crash resulting in deaths. It is very graphic and for some will be difficult to watch so consider viewing it first to determine if it’s appropriate to share with your family. But it makes the point: Texting while driving can and does kill.

Set the rules; set an example
It may not be easy to set down some rules but Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that lobbies for safer media use, offers some ideas in Rules of the Road for Texting that may help you get started:

Don’t move while texting. Don’t drive, walk, bike or skateboard while texting.
Set boundaries. With power comes responsibility and accountability. Make rules on where and when texting is acceptable and get your children to agree. Make it clear that you will follow through — even take away their phones and ultimately their driving privileges — for violation of the rules.
Set an example. You must stop driving while texting yourself if you hope to enforce the rule in your family.
There are legislative movements afoot to ban cell phone use and other activities that may require drivers to take their eyes off the road. But don’t wait for legislation. Make your own rules and convince your family that no text message is so urgent that it’s worth dying over.


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