Survey: One in Four Teens Text While Driving

Yesterday the Pew Research Center released results from its Internet & American Life project survey, which was conduced over the summer of 2009. The results show that one in four teenagers text while driving.

The survey asked 800 teens ages 12 to 17 about their experiences with cell phone use in cars (as passengers and drivers). The Pew Research Center also teamed up with the University of Michigan between June and October to conduct nine focus groups on driving and mobile phone use with teens ages 12 to 18.

Here are the major findings from the survey as well as the focus groups:

- 75 percent of American teens between 12 and 17 own cell phones
- 66 percent of American teens between 12 and 17 use cell phones to send or receive text messages
- Older teens are more likely than younger teens to have cell phones and use text messaging services
- 82 percent of teens 16 to 17 have cell phones and 74 percent of them use text messaging
- 34 percent of texting teens 16 to 17 say that they have texted while driving
- 26 percent of all American teens 16 to 17 have texted while driving
- 52 percent of teens 16 to 17 with cell phones say that they have talked on a cell phone while driving
- 43 percent of all American teens 16 to 17 have talked on a cell phone while driving
- 48 percent of all American teens 12 to 17 have been in a car when the driver was texting while driving
- 40 percent of all American teens 12 to 17 have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger

The problem of distracted driving continues to grow. Texting while driving is of particular concern. Several states, including Oregon, California, and Connecticut, have already passed laws to ban all texting or talking on handheld phones while driving. The Senate is currently considering a bill that would provide federal funding to states that enact similar laws to bans texting while driving. A recent executive order from President Obama bans texting while driving for all federal workers while on the job.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were 5,870 fatalities and 515,000 injuries in wrecks in which at least one driver was distracted. Researchers from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reported earlier this year that text messaging carries the highest risk of all cell phone related behaviors behind the wheel. The researchers also noted that teen drivers are at a much higher crash risk compared to other drivers.

If you need to use your handheld cell phone while you’re driving, please pull over first. Park your vehicle before you text or call. With all of our modern electronic distractions, it’s easy to forget that automobiles can turn into lethal weapons if we take our eyes off the road for just a couple of seconds.

If you have been injured by a distracted driver or careless driver, contact an Atlanta auto accident attorney as soon as possible. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.