Teen Drivers Engage in Dangerous Distracted Driving Behaviors Despite the Known Risk of Car Accidents
August 19, 2014
According to a new survey conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), teen drivers are knowingly putting themselves at risk for a car accident. Teenagers continue to engage in dangerous distracted driving behaviors despite the known hazards. These include drunk driving and texting and driving.
Study findings reveal that teen drivers are aware that engaging in certain driving behaviors leads to car accidents. Regardless, teenagers ignore many of the known risks while behind the wheel. Specific findings of the survey include:
- The majority (86%) of teen drivers confirm that driving under the influence of alcohol is a form of distracted driving. Only one percent of teens surveyed believe that it is acceptable to drive while under the influence of alcohol.
- Despite the known dangers, five percent of teen drivers acknowledge occasionally driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Forty-seven percent of teenagers report they use designated drivers. However, teens have a lax definition of what constitutes a designated, sober driver.
- For 21% of teens, a designated driver can drink a small amount of alcohol or other drugs and drive as long as they are mostly sober.
- Alarmingly, four percent of teens state that a designated driver is the most sober person in the group.
- Ten percent of teens who reported never driving under the influence also indicated they have at times driven after consuming an alcoholic beverage.
- A majority of teen drivers, 68%, report that they have gotten behind the wheel after imbibing four or more alcoholic drinks.
- Almost all of the teen drivers surveyed, 96%, believe that talking on a cell phone and texting and driving is somewhat distracting. Sixty-two percent think texting and driving is very distracting.
- Despite the known risks, 86% confess to using a cell phone while driving.
- Approximately half of the teens surveyed, 47%, who disclosed they do not text and drive divulge they engage in the dangerous behavior while stopped at a red light or stop sign. (It is important to note that this is now illegal in the state of New Jersey.)
- Moreover, 68% of teen drivers confirm they read and respond to text messages while driving.
The survey offers some disturbing insights into teenagers’ attitudes and behaviors involving the dangerous practice of distracted driving. Parents and caregivers must take extra care to ensure that teenagers are informed that no amount of alcohol consumption is safe when behind the wheel. Moreover, teen drivers need to understand the real risks of texting and driving. Anytime a driver is engaged with a cell phone, their attention is diverted from the road putting many innocent people, including themselves, at risk of a fatal car accident.
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