OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Before a teen can even turn on a car, driving instructor Ron Malmquist has a list of things they need to check off.
This list includes making sure they have their permit, proper shoes and their phone is either turned off or stowed away.
Malmquist said all students, whether or not they are driving, cannot have their phones on during the ride. Instead, he has the rider watch for issues they see out on the road like speeding, swerving and texting.
According to NDOT teen drivers are involved in an unusually high amount of cell phone related crashes. In the last ten years drivers age 15 to 19 have made up about 7 percent of the state’s licensed drivers. However, according to that same data those teens are responsible for roughly 26 percent of all cell phone related crashes.
"I don't think they realize how dangerous driving can be when you're distracted. Like I said, it's really heavy, you're going fast. A lot of bad things could happen,” said teen driver Jackson Heming.
Experts say talking to your teen about using your cell phone helps, but actions speak louder than words. They say it’s more important that parents lead by example and not use their phones while driving.
While Malmquist makes sure all his students put their phones away when they’re on the road, he said there's no simple solution to stopping teens from texting while they are driving on their own. “I don’t know. I really don’t know what the answer to that question is. I wish I did,” said Malmquist.