Teens and “Safe Driving”

A new study finds that teenagers know what constitutes risky driving behavior, but regularly engage in it anyway.

Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) said they recently polled American teens to gauge their awareness of the risks of such things as drinking and texting while driving.

According to the survey, most teens know what they shouldn’t be doing while behind the wheel of a car. For instance, a full 86% of them know that driving under the influence of alcohol is “extremely” or “very” distracting.

The survey also found that 96% of teen drivers understand that talking or texting on a cell phone is at least slightly distracting. A healthy 62% think that it is “extremely” or “very” distracting.

While reassuring, these figures only speak to awareness – not actual behavior. It is when the survey got into what teens actually do behind the wheel that some alarming things emerged:

Among those who admit to driving under the influence of alcohol, 68% say they have done so after having more than three alcoholic beverages.

And while 47% say they never text while driving, a full 68% of teen drivers admit that they do read or reply to text messages while driving.

What does this tell us? Nothing that we shouldn’t already have known: just like their adult counterparts, teenagers often do things while driving that they know they shouldn’t be doing.

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