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Survey: Teens Admit To Distracted Driving And Know It's Risky

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Texting while driving

Texting while driving

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Teens know that talking, texting, and eating while driving are among many dangerous distractions. Despite that, the majority of teens do them, at least occasionally, anyway.

According to a new survey conducted by Seventeen magazine and AAA, nearly nine of ten drivers (86 percent) have driven while distracted. Nearly as many, 84 percent, knew the behavior was dangerous.

There's a certain double standard, because while teens think they're smart enough to avoid an accident in the driver's seat, as passengers, they're clearly worried about driver distraction. More than a third think that they've been involved in a close call or near-crash because of a driver's distraction, and 38 percent have been afraid of harm as the passenger of a distracted driver.

Worried about other drivers, but not so much themselves

Yet as drivers, they admit to plenty of distraction. Among those polled, 60 percent admitted to talking on a cellphone while driving; 61 percent have eaten while driving; and 73 percent have adjusted the sound system (although we're probably all a bit guilty of that one).

An even more frightening tidbit is that teens who do text while driving admit to sending an average of 23 texts while behind the wheel per month.

Excuses are varied as for why these cognitive and physical distractions apply to others but not to their driving safety. Forty-one percent dismiss their action as only taking a split second, while a third don't think they'll get hurt and another third simply say they're used to multi-tasking.

Texting-related distraction is rapidly becoming the cause of as many accidents as recklessness and inexperience (well, you could argue that texting is recklessness…). In another survey, conducted for the insurer Allstate, teenage girls admitted to speeding and texting more often than teenage boys.

Also, earlier this spring, we reported on companion site College Car Guide that cellphone-related distraction is the likely cause of a rise in nighttime deaths of teen drivers and passengers—as the fatality rate has fallen for most other age groups.

Not me...I'm careful when I text

Put it all together and there's a certain, "No, it's not me" disconnect happening, especially with teens.

According to the AAA, looking away from the road for just two seconds doubles your risk of a crash. The survey coincides with a "Two-Second Turnoff Day," aimed at raising awareness about the issue of texting and driving.

In 2008 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 6,000 occupants died due to distracted driving and more than 500,000 people were injured.

[AAA, via Kicking Tires]

 
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Comments (6)
  1. Legislation has value in raising public awareness in forums like this one but it will be difficult to solely legislate our way out of this issue. I just read that 72% of teens text daily - many text more than 3000 times a month. New college students are using texting and Facebook - even with their professors. This text and drive issue is in its infancy and its not going away.
    Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool that is a simple app for smartphones - low cost, no recurring fees. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.
    Erik Wood, owner
    OTTER LLC
    www.OTTERapp.com
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVn2vRYaSAU
     
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  2. I nearly fell asleep behind the wheel the other day but i had my anti sleep alarm on and it sounded so i pulled over and had a break. They are not that expensive and i got mine from www.thenonap.com
     
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  3. It's nice to hear most teens admitting that they text and drive, but I'd guarantee that the number is higher in reality. As a Seattle auto crash attorney, I have worked with a lot of clients that have been victims of distracted driving accidents. It is clear to me that our understanding as a society of distracted driving needs to place the act on par with drunk driving. Statistics are beginning to prove that they are, at the very least, equally as dangerous.
    I believe that the best solution is to provide this understanding through greater education aboiut the subject. That is why I started the group Teens Against Distracted Driving (TADD). This organization works toward getting teens to commit to putting away their cell phones while driving. Hopefully with greater education through groups like this we can reduce the number of distracted drivers on the road.
     
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  4. This is a great way to spread awareness of the dangers of distracted driving! Here is a link to a website that expands on promoting safety concerning teen drivers. It is filled with webisodes, PSAs, and other useful information concerning the subject! http://impactteendrivers.org/
     
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  5. We NEED your help saving lives. Cell phones are something we can't live without. Texting & Driving will cause you to NOT live anymore. Text Tastefully.Please take the TADPOLE Pledge today!! http://toadd.org/tadpole/pledge
     
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  6. in my school safe driving and other little things like that are very very inportant to me and my school
     
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