Many teens are engaging in distracted driving despite knowing the dangers and consequences of doing so, according to a survey conducted by AAA and Seventeen Magazine.
The survey reports that a whopping 86 percent of teens said they have engaged in distracted driving, with 84 percent admitting to knowing that distracted driving is dangerous.
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The survey, which included 2,000 male and female drivers between in the ages of 16 and 19, showed teens engaged in several forms of distracted driving including applying make-up, eating, talking and texting on a cell phone and adjusting the radio, CD player or MP3 player.
The teens provided justifications for engaging in distracted driving. The survey reports that "41 percent think their action will only take a split second; 35 percent don't think they'll get hurt; 34 percent said they're used to multitasking; and 32 percent don't think that anything bad will happen to them."
From this survey, it is clear that many of our youth have not fully grasped how serious and hazardous distracted driving can be. When teens, or any drivers for that matter, are distracted at the wheel, they put both themselves and other drivers at risk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 6,000 people lost their lives due to distracted or inattentive drivers in 2008. Further, over half a million people were injured due to distracted driver accidents in the same year.
These statistics alone should be enough to make teens put down the cell phone, food or make-up while driving. Unfortunately, it's not. As the survey notes, most teens know the risks and still allow distractions to get in the way of them driving. It is our responsibility-as parents, family members and friends-to continue to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving. Doing so keeps our roads safer and can potentially save lives.