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Study Finds Teens Text More When Driving Alone

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On: Sat, Aug 8, 2015 at 10:35AM | By: Carl Malek

Study Finds Teens Text More When Driving Alone

Providing perhaps the best glimpse into teenage driving habits yet, a new study reveals that more teens text and drive when driving alone, and that some of this activity involves responding to their parents. The main reason for teens' distracted driving is 'fear of missing out', the feelding that they need to stay connected at all times, and often at all costs.

Despite a recent string of studies, as well as widespread texting bans and public safety campaigns, many drivers appear to still take the risk of texting while driving which has contributed to a rising number of vehicular accidents and fatalties over the past several years. However new research has revealed that roughly 48 percent of teen drivers report that they text and drive more often when they are alone in the car versus sharing the space with teenage passengers.

The study in question was sponosored by Liberty Mutual Insurance as well as Students Against Destructive Decisions; it surveyed roughly 1,622 11th and 12th grade high school students, as well as 1,000 parents of high school age drivers. In the teen group, 55 percent of those surveyed reported that they texted behind the wheel to primarily communicate with their mom or dad and considered an immediate reply message to them a normal aspect of their daily routine. In addition, 19 percent of those survyed reported that they try to respond to a parents text within a minute of recieving it, while 25 percent claimed that they waited up to five minutes before responding to a similar text. Oddly, the results for parents surveyed took a sharp turn in the opposite direction with 58 percent of them not having an expectation of a certain level of response time for a sent text message. However, the bulk of the blame on young people being distracted behind the wheel cannot be solely placed on concerned parents; inexperience plays an even bigger role in distracted driving with 88 percent of young drivers reporting that they feel "safe" when interacting with their smartphone behind the wheel with an additional 34 percent checking their phones when a notification comes through. These two findings suggest that more effort is needed to educate young drivers about the dangers of taking their eyes off the road as well as reversing misconceptions about multitasking behind the wheel.

This study echoes the findings of a previous study done by the AAA earlier this year, which cited texting as a major distraction among teen drivers. That particular study cited a lack of attention as the main culprit for 58 percent of crashes involving young people with using cellphones (texting included) and carrying more than one passenger being the top two distractions faced by young drivers.


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