What Percent of Teen Cellphone Users Admit to Texting While Driving?
A new study by the Pew Research Center surveyed 800 teens up to 17 years old. In addition to the two statistics above, 40% of surveyed teens say that have been in a car where the driver was using a cell phone "in a way that put themselves and others in danger." That's scary! 48% say they have been in a car with a driver who was texting and driving. What's more concerning is the cavalier attitude many teens have about cell use while driving.
According to the study, one high schooler said texting while driving is fine and that he wears sunglasses so cops don't see him looking down. A girl said her sister and brother both text despite warning against such by their mother. Another boy stated that if he texts while driving he makes sure he puts the cell near the windshield so if someone stops ahead he won't be looking down and hit them.
We all know teens are prone to believe they are invincible and won't get hurt. But study after study is showing how these kids are putting themselves and all of drivers at risk for serious injury due to a car accident. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports in 2008 distracted drivers caused 16% of all fatal car accidents, which translated into 5,800 people who lost their lives in the U.S.
Some research indicates that passing laws banning texting while driving reduces the number of people who text message while driving. Washington state made it illegal to text message while driving in 2008 and illegal to talk on the cellphone without a handsfree device in 2009. We'll see in future studies what effect these new Washington state laws have on reducing accidents.
In the meantime, please put the cellphone down when you're driving. Cellphone use while driving has been shown to distract drivers so much that they drive as if they were drunk. We have all heard about countless tragic and fatal Washington car accidents that have been caused by drunk drivers. Lets not make cellphone use the new drunk driving.