Study Shows Teens May Be Ignoring Known Risks of Distracted Driving

accidents caused by distracted driving

Teenagers who drive are the group with the least amount of driving experience, yet they’re also likely to have the greatest amount of confidence in their ability to use a cell phone while driving.  When it comes to distracted driving in the form of cell phone use, texting and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, most teens will tell you that they understand the dangers and the consequences involved.  However, a new study shows that teens may be ignoring the known risks of distracted driving.

A Risky Definition of Distracted Driving

According to a March 2014 survey jointly sponsored by Liberty Mutual and SADD (Students against Destructive Decisions), most teens have a “risky” definition of what constitutes safe driving. The survey, which included over 2,500 11th and 12th graders from around the country and 1,000 parents of teen drivers, resulted in the following statistics that show a certain “disconnect” between understanding what’s right – and doing what’s right:

  • Safe Driving.  When asked what constitutes safe driving, 96% of teen drivers said that they understood that using a cell phone (in any way) while driving is at least slightly distracting. However, 86% of those admitted to using a cell phone while behind the wheel. Another 47% of teen drivers who say they never text while driving actually admitted to texting while at a red light or a stop sign.  So, the definition of what constitutes “driving” may be a bit ambiguous here.
  • Under the Influence.  The majority of teens claimed to understand the dangers surrounding drinking and driving. In fact, 86% said that they considered driving under the influence of alcohol to be extremely or very distracting.  However, when asked about actual driving behavior involving alcohol, driving “under the influence” took on a different definition.  Sadly, 68% of teens admitted to driving while under the influence of alcohol and said they have done so after having more than three alcoholic beverages.
  • Designated Driver.  Even though teenage drinking is illegal, many parents tell their teens about the importance of designating someone to drive “just in case” alcohol becomes an issue.  In fact, 58% of parents said that they encouraged teens to use designated drivers to avoid driving under the influence and 47% of teens admitted to following that protocol.  While that’s good news, teens’ definitions of when someone has had too much to drink – including the designated driver – was troubling. In fact, 21% of teens said that it was OK to have “a little” alcohol or other drugs, as long as they are “basically sober” and not too impaired to drive.

It’s clear that teen drivers know the risks and consequences involved with distracted driving.  That’s encouraging.  However, knowing the facts and putting them into practice are two very different things – which can often result in car accidents, serious injuries and even death.

When to Contact a New York Car Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to a distracted driver of any age, contact an experienced New York car accident right away.  New York is one of a very few states that has “no fault” insurance laws, and those often have very short filing deadlines and rules.  Don’t miss out on your chance to receive the compensation you’re entitled to such as medical expenses, lost income, physical and emotional pain and suffering and more.

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