Nowadays, many teen motorists have cellphones, and for many of them, the temptation to use those phones while driving outweighs their best judgment. Even though the dangers associated with texting and driving have been extremely well-documented in recent years, the texting and driving – and distracted driving – problem continues to affect the safety of not only teenage drivers, but everyone else on the roadway, too.
Just how often are today’s teen motorists texting behind the wheel, and is there anything you can do to protect yourself from distracted teen drivers?
Troubling statistics on texting teen drivers
According to Reuters, one in every three American teen drivers admits to texting while driving, a highly dangerous activity that impacts numerous aspects of driver performance. In addition to taking a driver’s visual attention away from the roadway, texting also involves cognitive and manual distraction, making it exponentially more dangerous.
Statistics also indicate that laws in place to help prevent teenagers from texting and driving do little to curb this dangerous behavior. In a recent study involving more than 101,000 teenage drivers from 35 different states, an alarming 38% of them admitted to texting and driving, even though 34 of those 35 states with surveyed teenagers had laws in place banning the practice.
Age factors into the problem
Statistics also indicate that the texting and driving habit starts young and that the earlier a teenager begins driving, the more likely he or she is to text behind the wheel. Teenagers who live in states that allow them to drive before the age of 16, for example, typically have higher rates of texting and driving than states that require drivers to turn 16 before licensure.
Safety advocates recommend increasing educational efforts and social media campaigns aimed at teen drivers to help mitigate the texting-and-driving issue. Some have also proposed adopting in-vehicle technologies that prevent phones from working while a vehicle is in motion. Parents can also play a role by setting an example and by following through with consequences if a teenager is using their phone while driving.