Archived Story

Texting while driving

Published 3:30am Wednesday, September 12, 2012

While teens are taking an active role discouraging texting and driving, many still text themselves, according to a recent survey conducted by State Farm and Harris Interactive.

The survey showed that while riding in a motor vehicle as a passenger, nearly four out of five teens, or 78 percent, said they spoke up and pointed out a driver’s distracted behavior. Once the issue was raised, 84 per cent said the driver listened and stopped driving distracted.

Of those passengers (16 percent) who overlooked the driver’s distracted behavior, almost half (48 percent) indicated they felt the driver could handle the distraction so their did not speak up. The survey also indicated that while the majority of teens tell others not to text and drive, about one-third still engage in texting and driving themselves. Furthermore, 34 percent of those surveyed said they had engaged in texting while driving.

All of us who drive or ride in a motor vehicle have good reason to be wary of driver distractions on the road no matter if we’re running an errand three blocks from home or driving cross country on an interstate highway.

Research tells us that texting while driving can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving. Thus, more education and conversations need to occur so teens understand that no one can handle driving while being engaged in another activity.

Some states already have passed laws banning texting while driving; others are pursuing similar legislation. Driver safety advocates are also concerned about the lack of awareness regarding the high crash risk of teen drivers.

According to the State Farm-Harris Interactive survey, three out of four teens do not expect to be involved in a crash during their first year of driving, despite research indicating that the first year is by far the most dangerous. While most teens have confidence in their driving skills, it’s important for them to understand that getting a driver’s license doesn’t make them experienced drivers. There is still much to learn on the road to being a safe driver—so extra care is needed.

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