Teens Still Crazy Over Texting While Driving

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News Posted: Tue, Nov 17 2009 10:42 PM
What seems to be a plethora of studies and research prove that text messaging while driving is dangerous. Despite this, a new Pew Research study (.PDF) shows that 1/3 of teens aged 16 and 17 text while driving.

Here are some of the highlights, or rather, lowlights, of the report:
  • 75% of all American teens ages 12-17 own a cell phone, and 66% use their phones to send or receive text messages.
  • Older teens are more likely than younger teens to have cell phones and use text messaging; 82% of teens ages 16-17 have a cell phone and 76% of that cohort are cell texters.
  • One in three (34%) texting teens ages 16-17 say they have texted while driving. That translates into 26% of all American teens ages 16-17.
  • Half (52%) of cell-owning teens ages 16-17 say they have talked on a cell phone while driving. That translates into 43% of all American teens ages 16-17.
  • 48% of all teens ages 12-17 say they have been in a car when the driver was texting.
  • 40% say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger.
Worse, some teens are flippant about texting while driving, and feel unconcerned about the possible dangers. This sort of "belief in their invulnerability" is something quite common among teens, and not restricted to texting while driving.
Said one high-school aged boy: “I think it’s fine ... And I wear sunglasses so the cops don’t see [my eyes looking down].” Likewise, another high school-aged girl wrote that she texts “all the time,” and that “everybody texts while they drive (.,.) like when I’m driving by myself I’ll call people or text them ‘cause I get bored.” One older high school-aged boy explained that he limits his texting while driving only if his parents are around: “I’m fine with it, just not with my mom and dad in the car. Like when I’m with my brother, I do it.”

Teens did make a distinction between reading text messages and sending them. “There’s a difference, I think,” said one older high school boy. “Because just reading a text isn’t that bad, it’s just reading and then moving on. If you’re texting, it’s going to take more time when you’re supposed to be driving, and that’s when most people get in accidents.”
It's actually not much better to read vs. write when texting while driving. In either case, your attention is diverted from the road in front of you and onto your device's screen.



Fortunately, not all are so casual about texting while driving. One high school boy in a focus group, when asked about riding with drivers who text, said: “Not if they know what’s good for them. I’ll snatch the phone out of your hands – don’t be driving in the car with me and doing that ... I want to live until the end of this car ride.”

The study is based on a telephone survey on teens’ and parents’ use of mobile phones and 9 focus groups conducted in 4 U.S. cities between June and October 2009 with teens between the ages of 12 and 18. The quantitative results in this study were based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research International between June 26 and September 24, 2009, among a sample of 800 teens ages 12-17 and a parent or guardian.
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3vi1 replied on Wed, Nov 18 2009 7:48 AM

What seems to be a plethora of studies and research prove that drinking while driving is dangerous. Despite this, a new Pew Research study (.PDF) shows that 1/3 of teens aged 16 and 17 drink while driving.

Here are some of the highlights, or rather, lowlights, of the report:

  • 75% of all American teens ages 12-17 own alcohol, and 66% use alcohol in cars.
  • Older teens are more likely than younger teens to have alcohol in cars; 82% of teens ages 16-17 have alcohol and 76% of that cohort are drivers.
  • One in three (34%) drinking teens ages 16-17 say they drank while driving. That translates into 26% of all American teens ages 16-17.
  • Half (52%) of cell-owning teens ages 16-17 say they have drank while driving. That translates into 43% of all American teens ages 16-17.
  • 48% of all teens ages 12-17 say they have been in a car when the driver was drinking.
  • 40% say they have been in a car when the driver drank in a way that put themselves or others in danger.
  • Worse, some teens are flippant about drinking while driving, and feel unconcerned about the possible dangers. This sort of "belief in their invulnerability" is something quite common among teens, and not restricted to drinking while driving.
  • Said one high-school aged boy: “I think it’s fine ... And I wear sunglasses so the cops don’t see [my eyes dialated].” Likewise, another high school-aged girl wrote that she drinks “all the time,” and that “everybody drinks while they drive (.,.) like when I’m driving by myself I’ll drink ‘cause I get bored.” One older high school-aged boy explained that he limits his drinking while driving only if his parents are around: “I’m fine with it, just not with my mom and dad in the car. Like when I’m with my brother, I do it.”


Teens did make a distinction between drinking drinks and pouring them. “There’s a difference, I think,” said one older high school boy. “Because just drinking isn’t that bad, it’s just gulping and then moving on. If you’re pouring, it’s going to take more time when you’re supposed to be driving, and that’s when most people get in accidents.”  It's actually not much better to drink vs. pour when drinking while driving. In either case, your attention is diverted from the road in front of you and onto your device's screen.



Fortunately, not all are so casual about drinking while driving. One high school boy in a focus group, when asked about riding with drivers who drink, said: “Not if they know what’s good for them. I’ll snatch the bottle out of your hands – don’t be driving in the car with me and doing that ... I want to live until the end of this car ride.”

The study is based on a guy we know down at the liquor store and 9 focus groups conducted in 4 U.S. cities between June and October 2009 with teens between the ages of 12 and 18. The quantitative results in this study were based on data from barstool interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research International between June 26 and September 24, 2009, among a sample of 800 teens ages 12-17 and a parent or guardian.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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realneil replied on Wed, Nov 18 2009 8:26 AM

I hate to see this happen, but it is, and needs to be addressed. Some people are already dead because of texting while driving. and more are sure to follow. I consider it a huge waste of a life when someone dies for this reason or they end up in jail for years for doing it at the worst possible time, then getting out eventually with a criminal record being the monkey on their back.

No matter how good you are, how cool you are, how different you believe yourself to be from everyone else, distracted driving/texting will catch up to you eventually.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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ClemSnide replied on Wed, Nov 18 2009 9:28 AM

One wonders if their final Twitter post would be "Head through windshield, slowly bleeding out"?


"I didn't cry when Bambi's mother was shot... but I cried when HAL was turned off."

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slugbug replied on Wed, Nov 18 2009 11:21 AM

Cellphones have to be the most abused technology ever made. Throngs of teens hopelessly addicted to text messaging and mindless chatter. In London the government has wrapped street lamp poles etc in protective foam to protect morons from walking into them while they're text messaging. Personally I would outfit these poles with huge rubber stamps with the word LOSER imprinted on them.

In my opinion cellphones should be huge two handed devices requiring a 12v car battery for power. I don't own one and never wish to.

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3vi1, WTF?!

I see what you mean though. Smile

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3vi1 replied on Wed, Nov 18 2009 3:57 PM

gibbersome:

3vi1, WTF?!

I see what you mean though. Smile

It's the age old story:  Teens and young adults, unaware of their mortality and apathetic to the safety of others, behave like morons behind the wheel.

I'd post mine... but they never gave me a copy.  :(

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Lol, little did the cop know he would grow up to be the richest man in the world, and perhaps the greatest philanthropist.

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Lev_Astov replied on Thu, Nov 19 2009 10:32 AM

I like where you're going with the rubber stamps, Slugbug! I'd go a bit further with some sharp spikes, myself, but to each evil dictator, his own.

Also, there's no reason to avoid getting a cell phone if you trust yourself to be responsible with it.

><((((">Lev Astov

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gibbersome replied on Thu, Nov 19 2009 12:05 PM

slugbug, I hear ya!

I don't like having a cell phone on me. But God forbid I miss a few calls from my mom/gf and I'll never hear the end of it.

Cell phone invades our private space. I don't like being so easy to get a hold of.

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mah_101381 replied on Sat, Nov 21 2009 11:17 PM

A teenage girl texts while driving because she is bored. God forbid the "dance" we do everyday behind the wheel avoiding other drivers, some about is incompetent as the girl quoted in the article, pedestrians or animals running across streets with heavy traffic, high speed chases and so on are boring her. Apparently what is "exciting" is finding out that boyfriend of ditz "A" is cheating on her with ditz "B" who is ... who the #$@% cares anyway. This was mind numbingly boring in high school when I graduated back in 2000. Pay attention to the DAMN road!!!

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Many drivers regularly send text messages from behind the wheel. Studies indicate that the practice is as dangerous as driving drunk. I don't touch my mobile when driving and use mobile application of http://www.drivesafe.ly/ for texting.
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