Distracted Driving: Survey of Teens and Young Adults

Teen and young adult drivers do not have a realistic view of distracted driving, according to a survey of over 2,000 drivers ages 15-21 conducted by Bridgestone Americas, Inc., the tire company.  The survey found that most drivers in this age group believe they are very safe drivers, but most of them drive distracted at least occasionally:

  • About a third of them read a text message while driving at least occasionally;
  • About a fifth said they type a text at least occasionally;
  • Over 80% said they change music in the car at least occasionally;
  • About 70% said they drink non-alcoholic beverages while driving at least occasionally; and
  • About 50% said they eat while driving at least occasionally.

One of the problems is that these drivers do not fully understand distracted driving, that any activity that takes a driver’s concentration off of the road for even a second is distracted driving and can cause an accident.  Below are activities the teens and young adults surveyed consider very dangerous:

  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol – 95%;
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs – 92%;
  • Typing a text while driving – 83%;
  • Driving under the influence of marijuana – 81%;
  • Reading a text while driving – 73%;
  • Talking on the phone while driving – 31%;
  • Eating while driving – 14%;
  • Drinking (non-alcoholic drinks) while driving – 12%; and
  • Changing music selections while driving – 6%.

The recent emphasis has been on text messaging while driving, and most of the drivers surveyed understand that this is distracted driving. But taking a drink from a can of soda pop and changing the radio station also takes the driver’s eyes off of the road. Only a small percentage of those surveyed considered these activities very dangerous.

Teens, young adults and all drivers need to understand that anything that takes their eyes off of the road or takes their concentration off of driving is distracted driving. They also need to know that there are no excuses for distracted driving. When asked why they drove distracted, even occasionally, those surveyed provided the following reasons:

  • I take extra precautions to make sure I don’t get too distracted (62%);
  • I don’t believe I get too distracted while driving (53%);
  • My parents/everyone else does it (18%);
  • I think I’m a much safer driver than everyone else (16%); and
  • I do it all of the time and nothing has happened (14%).

I represent accident victims throughout the United States, and some of my clients have been severely injured in crashes caused by distracted drivers of cars, 18-wheelers, buses and other vehicles.  To contact me for a free consultation, call 1-888-377-8900 or submit the firm’s free consultation form.

April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month. Our MN car accident lawyers advocate for traffic safety and driver education.

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