Category: Distracted Driving

Teens Have Unrealistic Views About Distracted Driving, Study Finds

Distracted driving is a problem that affects even the most experienced drivers, so it’s not surprising that newly-minted teenage drivers – who often have trouble controlling their impulses – are susceptible to driving while distracted.

According to AAA, the most common distractions among teenage drivers are using electronic devices (for both talking and texting), adjusting controls in the car, and eating or drinking.

Teens Don’t Believe Distracted Driving Is a Problem

Despite the research that shows that teenage drivers engage in distracted driving, they believe they are immune to getting into accidents related to their distractions.

“People often believe they drive safely and responsibly, especially our newest drivers,” said Angela Patterson of Bridgestone Americas in a statement. “However, we need to reinforce that it only takes one time – one sip of coffee, one change of the radio station, one glimpse at the cell phone – to cause or be involved in a crash that could have dire consequences.”

In order to collect teenage drivers’ views about distracted driving, Bridgestone surveyed over 2,000 drivers aged 15 to 21. The study, which was recently released in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation, found that:

  • Although 83 percent of respondents agree that texting while driving is “very dangerous,” 27 percent of females and 11 percent of males admit to sending texts while driving. In addition, 38 percent of the female drivers and 17 percent of the male drivers read texts while driving.
  • 18 percent of the teens surveyed say that they engage in distracted driving because everyone else does it.
  • One-quarter of the teens do not think talking on the phone while driving is dangerous.
  • Many teenagers don’t think that taking one hand off the steering wheel to eat, drink or change the radio station counts as a distraction.

In addition, researchers found that many teens believe they are good drivers because they haven’t been pulled over and haven’t gotten into accidents yet. Also, two-thirds of the young drivers say that they believe they are “very safe” drivers.

But statistics don’t support this assertion. Although teens tend to believe that they’re invincible, research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, shows that motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens aged 13 to 19. In 2009 alone, almost 3,500 teens were killed in car accidents.