Survey: 86% of teens drive while distracted

By Laura Geller - bio | email
Posted by Meg Thalhimer - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The majority of teen drivers are distracted when they get behind the wheel and now we know why.  A new survey explains exactly what teens are doing while they drive, and how they justify potentially dangerous behavior.

They do things like send text messages or pick up phone calls, eat and drink and change the radio station, all while driving.  According to a AAA and Seventeen Magazine survey, 86 percent of teens are distracted when operating a vehicle.  That's almost nine out of ten teens who are paying attention to something other than the road.

16-year-old Annie Buck told NBC12, you'll never see a cell in her hands when she's driving.  She said she neither talks on the phone, nor sends text messages.

The same goes for 17-year old Sherod Allen.  They're both taking driver's education classes during summer break.

But according to that AAA and Seventeen Magazine survey of teen drivers, they're in the minority.

Of 2,000 drivers between 16-and 19-years old, 73 percent have adjusted the stereo, 61 percent said they've eaten and 60 percent have talked on a cell phone while on the road.

Their reasoning behind these actions is varied.  35 percent said they don't think they'll get hurt.  34 percent claimed they're used to multi-tasking and 32 percent simply don't think anything bad will happen to them.

Another 41 percent said it's ok to do these things because something like changing the radio station only takes a split second.  But AAA explained, taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds, doubles your risk of crashing.

That's why Sherod's mom has given him a laundry list of safe driving tips.

"Seatbelts on, watch the speed limit, no talking on the phone, no texting, wait until you stop," listed Alyce Allen.  "If it's that important-pull over."

You can find the results of the entire survey in September's edition of Seventeen Magazine.

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