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Encouraging your teenager to avoid cellphone use while driving

| Feb 24, 2021 | Traffic Ticket |

Getting a traffic ticket in New York because of illegal cellphone use while driving can impact your teen’s driving privileges. Helping your child understand the dangers of using a phone while driving and enforcing consequences can encourage responsible behavior.

You can educate your child about the legal repercussions of using a phone while driving to reinforce your own teaching and provide context to the rules you put in place.

Illegal behaviors defined

There are lots of resources about the dangers of texting and driving. Addressing solely texting while driving may give your child the false belief that using their phone while driving is okay as long as he or she is not texting. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, talking on the phone, playing video games, taking pictures and browsing the web are also illegal activities when driving.

Some of the behaviors you can encourage your child to do to counteract the temptation to use a phone while driving include the following:

  • Turn phone to “do not disturb” mode
  • Put the phone in a place out of reach
  • Pull over to address urgent messages

Worsening consequences

New York driver’s licenses operate on a point system. Your teen will accumulate 5 points on his or her driving record for illegal cellphone use. Your teen cannot accumulate 11 or more points in an 18-month period before facing suspension of all driving privileges. Other consequences may include costly fines and rising insurance premiums.

You can use legal repercussions as leverage, but you should also have consequences of your own. For example, you can tell your teen that if you find out about illegal cellphone use while driving, you will remove his or her driving privileges until behavior improves. You can also use positive reinforcement, such as more opportunities to drive if you notice responsible behavior.