New research shows that although teens say they understand the dangers of distracted driving, the vast majority continue to engage in it.
Online PR News – 12-August-2010 – – Although texting while driving remains the focus of new distracted driving laws enacted by 30 states across the country, new research highlights the fact that distracted driving also includes a variety of other behaviors.
A survey conducted by Seventeen Magazine and automobile club AAA found that nearly 9 of 10 teens have engaged in distracted driving behavior while driving. The appears in the September issue of Seventeen.
Based on the responses of 1,999 teenagers in May, the survey found that the top three teenage distracted driving behaviors included adjusting a radio/CD/MP3 player (73%), eating or talking on a cell phone (60%); and texting (28%).
Experts who have followed the issue closely applaud efforts by states to ban texting while driving but say education programs, especially for teens, also should focus on other distracted driving behaviors.
“Of the more than 16,000 teenagers who die in the United States each year, 50 percent are killed in automobile accidents,” says Jim S. Adler, a Houston car accident attorney. “The number one message for teens is to concentrate while driving. This means avoiding distracted behaviors of any kind.”
Around the country, leaders in the transportation industry and government are sounding the alarm about the dangers of distracted driving.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has said, “During the last few years, distracted driving has evolved from a dangerous practice to a deadly epidemic, perhaps the least recognized public safety crisis of the 21st century.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the use of mobile devices while driving contributed to accidents causing nearly 6,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries on American roads last year, and most of those accidents were preventable.
According to the Seventeen Magazine/AAA survey, teens give a variety of reasons for engaging in dangerous behavior behind the wheel. They include: 41 percent thought their actions would only take a split second; 35 percent thought they would not get hurt; 34 percent said they were used to multitasking; and 32 percent thought nothing bad would happen to them.
In other findings:
• Drivers ages 18-19 are more likely to engage in distracted driving than those 16-17.
• Teens driving their own vehicles are more prone to distracted driving than those who share an automobile with others. For instance, 20% of teens who share vehicles had texted while driving, compared with 35% of teens with their own cars.
“The message to teens must come from parents, family, teachers, government and law enforcement,” says Adler. “And that message is simple: Concentrate while you’re driving.”
Founder of longtime Texas personal injury law firm Jim S. Adler & Associates, Adler is a Houston car accident lawyer who supports Safe Kids, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other safe driving campaigns.
“Anyone harmed by a distracted driver -- or any driver – can obtain a free case review form on the Adler Web site to take the first step toward financial recovery,” Adler says.