OUR SAY | Set an example for your kids by not sending a message

Parents are often heard to remark their children aren’t paying enough attention. They say their offspring just won't heed their advice, listen to their warnings, or follow their recommendations.

However it’s obvious that teenagers are paying attention to their parents in at least one regard: young drivers are watching their parents use phones while driving.

Studies have shown that up to 95 percent of parents who use their mobiles – whether they are handheld or hands-free devices – while operating a motor vehicle do so in front of their impressionable sons and daughters.

When coupled with another statistic – that the vast majority of youngsters rely on their mums or dads as their go-to driving instructors – it is a cause for extreme concern.

It’s worthwhile stating the obvious at this point: using mobile phones while behind the wheel is beyond dangerous, to those in the car with the offender, or in their nearby surrounds.

The number of accidents, some of them fatal, caused by a driver paying attention to their device rather than the road is growing by the year.

It’s also costly: In 2017, motorists around Orange were fined $28,327 after being caught using their mobile phones while driving.

Everyone, but especially parents of impressionable children, should pull onto the side of the road or find a park before even glancing at their phone.

Doing so guarantees they won’t become distracted by the conversation or text message and forget to pay attention to what is going on beyond the windshield.

And there are other simple and obvious ways parents can set examples for their teens while driving: obeying speed limits, always using seat belts, and making every effort to comply with the rules and regulations of the road.

We want our young drivers to be as safe as possible when they are behind the wheel. The best way to accomplish that is to teach them by showing them.

The next time you are driving your teenager to school, the shops, or wherever, remember that you may be setting an example for him or her.

This is an opportunity to be a more responsible driver and role model to your children.

If you do it often enough, they’ll certainly start to take notice, and down the track it might save their life.

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