Safe driving course teaches teens -- and parents -- about distractions

By Stephen Hooker - email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - We often tell you stories about the consequences of young people who drive distracted, but they're not the only ones who fall into a dangerous category. One family driving challenge is meant to improve our safety while on the road.

Travis Graham and his son Austin share a standard American car. It's a great car with cupholders, a GPS, a fantastic sound system and a place to plug in your cell phone. All the sort of things that add up to distractions which can ruin your day.

"I just let him get his license last week," Travis said about his son. "It's gut wrenching."

"My dad and my grandfather, they taught me," Austin said.

"When they get out there on their own you're not going to be there to save them, they're going to have to make those decisions," added Travis.

Each year about 300,000 teens are injured making the wrong decisions because of distractions. Officials say the main influence is their parents.

"Immediately I got on the phone and I said, 'you know, he's watching me, he's sitting in the chair right beside me and he's going to see what I'm doing,'" said Travis.

That's why Allstate insurance offers family driving challenge events where teens and their parents learn smart driving habits. For instance, the course about distractions -- phoning, texting, eating, loud music and just talking with your passengers.

Austin doesn't think he'll have a problem resisting texting while driving.

"I'm not coordinated to do that," he said.

But a schoolmate gave Austin a real reason.

"It was in the parking lot at school," Austin recalled. "He was backing up and hit somebody while texting."

One of those memories for a lifetime.

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