Teen Motorists and Distracted Driving: Per Poll, Approximately Half of 16- and 17-Year-Old US Drivers with Cell Phones Have Used Devices while Operating Motor Vehicles

November 17, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to a poll of 800 teenagers, ages 12 to 17, about half of those who drive and own cell phones have used these communication devices while operate a motor vehicle. About 1/3rd of these teenagers also admitted to text messaging while driving. The poll was conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

Considering that distracted driving has proven to be dangerous and new drivers tend to be less experienced at driving than adult drivers, parents should be worried that some of the teens polled wouldn’t acknowledge that texting and talking on the phone talking while driving are dangerous habits. Fortunately, many of the teens did say they are now aware that these distracted driving habits are dangerous and they claim they won’t do them anymore. However, some of these same teens say they can’t help but answer a ringing phone or respond to a text sent to them while they are driving.

As our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident attorneys have said in previous blog posts, distracted driving is a common cause of many fatal traffic crashes involving not just cars and pedestrians, but also buses, large trucks, and trains. Many people seem to be having a hard time resisting the impulse to talk on the phone or text message or surf on the Internet while driving, which not only keeps them from paying attention to the road but also prevents them from reacting effectively and driving offensively/defensively while on the road so that they don’t become involved in a catastrophic North Carolina car crash.

Fortunately, national and state safety and transportation officials have stepped up efforts to make people more aware of the dangers posted by texting and distracted driving. Yet many people continue to do one or both—despite the evidence that such seemingly harmless acts can kill people.

Scary statistics on teen texting, calling while driving, The Seattle Times, November 17, 2009

Half of teens say they’ve used cellphone while driving, USA Today, November 16, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Teenagers, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Pew Research Center


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