Distracted Driving Puts Young Drivers at Risk
Our survey finds them engaging in bad habits; by Consumer Reports Magazine
Note: Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertiser on MSN.
It’s dangerous to use a cell phone behind the wheel. But many teenagers and other young drivers still play the odds by talking or texting on a handheld cell phone or operating a mobile device while driving. Those are the findings of a recent nationally representative survey of drivers 16 to 21 years old by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.
Almost half of the respondents said they had talked on a handheld phone while driving in the previous 30 days. Close to 30 percent said they had texted in that time. And some had operated smart-phone apps (8 percent) or used e-mail or social media (7 percent) while behind the wheel.
Yet almost all of them considered texting, using smart-phone apps, or accessing the Internet to be dangerous while driving; about 80 percent thought it was very dangerous. Also, 63 percent of those surveyed saw talking on a handheld phone while driving as dangerous.
Moreover, most respondents had seen their peers doing similar things in that time. Eighty-four percent saw other young people talking on a handheld phone, more than 70 percent witnessed texting, and about a third saw peers using apps, e-mail, or social media behind the wheel.
Why is that dangerous? Motor-vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for teenagers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And 11 percent of teenage drivers who died in crashes in 2010 were distracted. Our survey results indicate that young drivers are engaging in behavior that causes them to take their eyes and minds off the road, creating risks for themselves and others.
Young drivers were also asked about the driving habits of Mom and Dad. Forty-eight percent witnessed their parents talking on a handheld phone in the previous 30 days, and 15 percent saw them texting.
Concern about distracted driving led almost three-quarters of those surveyed to stop or reduce such behavior, they said. More than 60 percent said they were influenced by reading or hearing about the problem, 40 percent by related bans, and close to 30 percent by their family urging them to stop. Almost 20 percent knew someone who had been in a crash caused by distracted driving.
Our survey also found that having peers in the car may help curb distracted driving. Almost 50 percent said they were less likely to talk on a handheld cell phone or text when friends were along. One reason may be that many young people are speaking up; almost half said they had asked a driver to stop using a phone in the car because they feared for their safety.
Whether you’re a parent, friend, or sibling, set a good example. Stop the car in a safe place if you need to use a cell phone. And if you’re riding with a driver using a phone, ask him or her to put it down and stop gambling with your safety.
For more information, visit our guide to distracted driving.
Editor's Note: A version of this article appeared in the June 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine with the headline "Survey: Young Drivers at Risk."
Read more at Consumer Reports:
I certainly see where you're coming from. Many 4 wheelers fail to understand the physics of a fully loaded or even an empty semi.
On the other hand, I also see plenty of self proclaimed "professional" truck drivers on the phone and texting every single day. They cut people off, run red lights, speed, block the passing lane, and fail to yeild on merge ramps just as frequently as four wheelers do.
Here's what it says on the back of my 18 wheeler: Driver NOT responsible for killing your dumb @ss if you're on the phone or texting" We professional drivers have had enough. Do NOT expect us to cut your four wheelers any more slack when you're on the phone.
You've been warned. Drive accordingly.
Again, they need to do a poll on adult drivers because I'm pretty sure the statics will be higher for adults then teens when it comes to distracted driving.
Forty-eight percent witnessed their parents talking on a handheld phone in the previous 30 days, and 15 percent saw them texting.
Not sure info is acurate but I would say it's much much higher then this for adults. If you don't believe me, take a trip on the highway during rush hour traffic and see!
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