Columbus Ohio In attorney David A. Bressman's continuing series on teen driving, dangers and distractions, an alarming study, published in 2007 provides evidence that driving distractions are becoming as prevalent as drinking and driving in terms of inhibiting teens' driving abilities.
According to teen driving research by SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, instant and text messaging while driving leads the list as the biggest distraction while driving for teens.
In a national survey of more than 900 teens with driver's licenses from 26 high schools, teens rated the following behaviors or activities as "extremely" or "very" distracting:
•Instant or text messaging while driving - 37 percent
•[The teen driver's] emotional state - 20 percent
•Having several friends in the car - 19 percent
•Talking on a cell phone - 14 percent
•Eating or drinking - 7 percent
•Having a friend in the car - 5 percent
•Listening to music - 4 percent
SADD and Liberty Mutual have collaborated on seven years of research on teens' attitudes, behaviors, and decision-making behind the wheel. Study results include data on cell phone use while driving, alcohol and drug use, seat belt use, and speeding, as well as comparative data between teens and parents.
SADD Chairman and CEO Stephen Wallace and SADD Executive Director Penny Wells are available to further discuss study results, including texting while driving and teen behavior in general behind the wheel.