A new survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of State Farm Insurance has indicated that most adolescents who have a driver’s permit or license have admitted to texting while they were driving, despite the fact that information about the dangers of this practice is widespread.
The research took place in February and indicated that among licensed drivers between the ages of 14-17 years, 57 percent had texted while driving. There were 652 people within that age group who took part in the research, and 280 of them had either a permit or a driver’s license.
What the responses from the survey found were as follows:
• Though academic research has shown that texting and driving is as dangerous as drinking and driving, this truth was not reflected in the opinions of the participants.
• 35 percent of those who had a license or who intended to get one strongly agreed that if they texted while driving on a regular basis, they would one day be killed as a result of the behavior. In contrast, 57 percent strongly agreed that drinking and driving on a regular basis would one day be a fatal mistake.
• Equally, 63 percent strongly agreed that if they texted while driving on a regular basis, they would be involved in a traffic accident, while 83 percent said the same thing about regularly drinking and driving.
Beyond the opinions of the teens, the survey was able to discover that parents play a very important role in helping new drivers to develop safe driving behaviors. This only confirms what has been shown by previous research.
The results of the survey indicated that the adolescents who never text while driving are those who have often discuss safe driving with their parents. In fact, 82 percent of the teens who never text and drive said that they speak with their parents sometimes or very often about driving safely. Only 67 percent of teens who text and drive discuss driving with their parents.
The research also identified a significant decline in discussions about driving between teens and their parents once those drivers receive their licenses. Those who have a driving permit are twice as likely to discuss safe driving than those who have their full driver’s license.