Are Teen Drivers Texting while Driving?

Teen voices count when it comes to texting while driving according to a national survey conducted in July by State Farm and Harris Interactive.  However, for many teens, the attitude around texting while driving may still be “do as I say – not as I do.”

While a passenger in a car, nearly four in five teens (78%) said they spoke up and pointed out a driver’s distracted behavior. Once raising the issue, 84 percent said the driver listened and stopped driving distracted.

“When I’m in a car with my friends or family, I say, ‘Hey, don’t do that. I’ll text for you.’  I’m the designated texter,” said 18-year old Pennsylvania native, Navea Frazier. “And they always stop driving distracted.  You never know what can happen in the blink of an eye. Texting doesn’t just endanger the driver but the passengers and the cars around you too.”

[ Also Read: Austin Wierschke Is the Fastest Texter ]

Of the nearly one in five teens (16%) who did not point out the distracted behavior, almost half (48%) stated they felt the driver could handle the distraction so they did not speak up.

The survey also indicated that while the majority of teens tell others not to text and drive, about a third still engage in the behavior themselves. In the survey, 34 percent indicated they had engaged in texting while driving.

In the survey, 54 percent of teens say they have or will get their driver’s license within one month of being eligible to drive while 43 percent said they would wait slightly, getting their license within two or more months of being eligible.

[ Also Read: Turning Smartphone from Detractor to Driving Coach ]

Of those that said they would wait more than one month, teen girls were more than twice as likely as teen boys to state their reason as not believing their driving skills were proficient enough to get full licensure.

According to the survey, approximately three out of four teens do not expect to get into a crash during their first year of driving, despite research stating the first year is by far the most dangerous.

More than half of these teens strongly disagree they will get into a car crash – a mindset that concerns many teen driver safety advocates because new drivers often lack a complete set of driving skills as novice drivers.

[ Also Read: Say No to Texting While Driving: Kasey Kahne ]

Across North America, on Saturday, September 15th, high school officials, safety advocates, local law enforcement, and government leaders will join with tens of thousands of teens and their parents for a celebration in honor of this year’s class of new teen drivers.

“Celebrate My Drive” events are currently scheduled in more than 300 communities large and small – making it North America’s largest-ever simultaneous gathering of new teen drivers.

This survey was conducted by telephone within the United States between July 24 through July 30 2012 by Harris Interactive on behalf of State Farm among 650 U.S. 14-18 year olds. The survey findings were released Tuesday, August 28.

State Farm and its affiliates provide car insurance in the U.S. and it is a leading insurer in Canada.

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Rakesh Raman