As those with ADHD have increased distractibility, I think it’s especially important that us ADHDers know this startling statistic and take serious note; Research shows that texting and driving can actually be worse than drinking and driving, and laws banning texting is doing little about saving lives.
I’ve always known it isn’t exactly safe, but until it was put in that context it didn’t register with me just how great the potential to destroy lives really is. I’ve done things like limit my texting to when I am on the highway and at stoplights, readily making excuses for why I can afford to look away a few more seconds on long stretches and when I’m stopped. But invariably my few seconds at the stop light turns into just one more after I’ve started, and before you know it those very restrictions I have put in place are over ruled by my impulsivity, excuses and justifications.
I’ve quit drinking and am the first to try to stop anyone that has been drinking from driving, and encourage stricter laws for those that do it. I feel blessed I did not kill anyone while I was drinking and driving back in the day, and am glad it is one of the few lessons I did not learn the hard way, as I don’t need someone in my family to be killed by a drunk driver to know that I think it is wrong.
I already know how it feels, to lose someone close to me for reasons that I think were preventable. So even after I didn’t drink much, my ability to control impulses isn’t great, so my rule was simply NO alcohol while driving.
My solution for myself with regards to texting is now simple and clear. NO phone use in the car unless I am stopped with the car off. I’m not perfect, but reading articles like this remind me of why I need to try harder be perfect. Why would I want to wait until I destroyed my life or another’s to learn the forever-altering lesson that texting can kill?
How do I enforce this? I tell those I love what I am trying to do, and to bust me when I am not doing it, and that helps. I practice mindfulness. I read about texting and driving, and stories that have changed lives. I am not perfect, and know that I can’t do things alone, but when I ask for support from those around me I am all the more likely to be successful.
Kids, thankfully, have parents that can enforce rules to prepare them for being in the real world. Parents can:
- Ban cell phone texting / calling in the car completely.
- Take away phones from kids that don’t follow this rule.
- Check cell phones to see when the kids have been texting.
- Don’t simply create a rule, but let the child experience the feelings of why the rule is created in the first place. Watch drunk driving videos as a family. As the kids to write a paper on how they would feel if someone in the family was killed by a texter.
- Lead by example.
That may seem harsh, but think about how how harsh it is to wind up in jail for life, to have your child kill someone because they are texting, or get killed because someone’s parent thought that conversation was too harsh.
Do we really need to wait to experience something before we are willing to do something about it? We want to shield our kids from these types of feelings, but by doing this we also prevent them from understanding the lessons others are learning the hard way. We don’t want our kids in fear, but it is important that they understand the dangers of life and develop healthy behaviors to protect themselves.
It doesn’t surprise me that the laws don’t work, it is easy to get around and difficult to catch people in the act. We don’t need to rely on the police for preventing this – we need to rely on ourselves and the help of others around us to encourage us to lead healthier lives.
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