A new State Farm® online survey examines teen attitudes and behaviors about the use of smartphones while driving. This is what teens say:
- Nine out of ten teenage drivers say they engage in at least one smartphone behavior while driving.
- Parents influence their teenage children. Teens whose parents use cellphones while driving were more likely to do the same.
- Teens report using phones while driving despite finding such activities distracting and believing they can increase the likelihood of a crash.
- Teens who have been in an accident have a higher tendency to use their phone when behind the wheel.
- Many teens reported driving a vehicle equipped with an advanced safety feature: automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, or lane keeping assist. These teens more likely engaged in distracted smartphone behaviors while driving than those who drove vehicles without safety features. Teens are comfortable taking their eyes off the road to focus on other tasks when the safety systems are active. This is a dangerous combination.
“Drivers who engage in distracting behaviors while behind the wheel are making the decision to put themselves, their passengers and other road users at risk,“ said Laurel Straub, Assistant Vice President of Enterprise Research at State Farm. “Unfortunately, this risk often leads to crashes, injuries, and fatalities. These tragedies are preventable.”
For teens, parents are an important role model in the car.
“Our data shows that teens who admit to using a smartphone while driving are more likely to have a parent or guardian who also uses a phone while driving,” Straub added.
When learning hands-on driving skills it’s important to:
- Eliminate distractions when behind the wheel.
- Practice your driving skills with your parents.
- Enroll in drivers education courses.
- Review state graduated drivers licensing laws.
- Establish restrictions, boundaries and curfews.
Tips to avoid distractions while driving (not just for teens!):
- Put the phone away. Set it to send an automatic reply while driving – no texts, internet, selfies or social media.
- Adjust controls – GPS, radios, air conditioning, or mirrors – before driving.
- If you must call, pull over and park in a safe place or ask your passenger to call.
- Always, always have your head in the game – drive safe.