Teen Texting & Driving Is Now Officially Worse Than You Think

This Just In 9

texting and drivingReally, really bad news on the teen texting and driving front. A new study out of the University of Michigan found that teenage drivers texted, on average, 26 more times while behind the wheel than their parents ever expected. The researchers interviewed over 5,500 teens and parents, the largest study of its kind, and found that 26 percent of teens admitted to reading or sending a text message at least once while driving, while only 1 percent of parents answered that they thought their teen would do such a thing.

But wait, it gets worse. (Then it gets better, promise.)

One in five teens, or 20 percent, owned up to having extended, multi-message text conversations while driving. Gulp.

With car crashes the leading cause of death among American teenagers, we gotta do something to stop all the "LOL", "OMG", "Where u at" messaging while they're in the driver's seat of a deadly weapon.

The safe driving ad campaign is a start. Those commercials, especially the one that features a teenage boy who suffered severe brain damage after a car accident that occurred as a result of his texting and driving, are very powerful. But researchers say the most effective way to get teens to stop this deadly behavior is to set a good example.

The study found:

Teens who think their parents are distracted drivers, eating while driving, looking for things, or focusing on passengers and passenger behavior, are much more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors themselves.

Sounds like the best thing we can do is to drive safely, ourselves.

It's a win win if I've ever heard one -- parents drive safely so that our teens may drive safely. Simple enough, right?

But hey, if you need some motivation to keep your hands at ten and two and eyes on the road so that your teen might do the same, this short, 10-minute documentary below about texting and driving related deaths should do the trick. Very scary stuff. Very.

How do you talk to your teen about the dangers of texting and driving?


Photo via MrJasonWeaver/Flickr



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nonmember avatar Cass

If you haven't already raised your teen to know his or her limits, you're already losing. Both of my parents text and drive, yet I know I am not a diligent enough driver to do so safely. As a result, I don't text and drive. Period.

Felly... FellyScarlett

1% of parents think their kids text and drive. Not shocking. No one thinks their little angel is going to do anything BAD.

nonmember avatar Kitty

Cass: There is NO such thing as safe texting and driving. Your parents are irresponsible.

jalaz77 jalaz77

I see adults texting and driving ALL THE TIME. pathetic. I have text at a stop light or stop sign. Never while driving. It's finally a law here and people continue to do it, it's even illegal to do it at a stop sign or light so I stopped.

fleur... fleurdelys3110

I've only ever texted while at an extended red light. Never while the car is moving. If something is urgent, I pull over.

stara... starandseen

My husband doesn't text while driving but he checks his E-mail, which is the same thing. Driving to him is like a standstill moment for him so he feels restless and takes his phone out and fiddles with it. It drives me nuts. And no, he doesn't think driving is doing something. His hands are free and not doing anything and that's why he feels restless.

Rathe... RatherBeReading

My husband is a paramedic and worked a call yesterday involving an 18 year HS senior that was texting and driving on the way to school. She crossed over the center line and slammed head on into a minivan. She is in the hospital, but will recover. The guy driving the van died on the way to the hospital. Easily avoided wreck....so sad. 

Cassandra Huber

This needs to stop for people of all ages, and also talking on the phone and driving. I believe cell phones should be banned while driving as there is NEVER a reason to call or text, etc. while driving. You can make your call while parked somewhere. Too many idiots in my area text and talk while driving and they never look where they are going, they drive like idiots, and the type of people who talk and drive or text and drive are all idiots. I do not care who you are. If you cause an accident due to talking or texting and driving I hope you are the one to leave the scene in a body bag because your life is worthless to begin with if you are that self centered to put peope's lives in danger. I'm the bitch who hates her phone and doesnt always have it near me and could care less if I answer people's calls or not. I have a cheap prepaid crap phone, as that's all I need, and I sure as hell do not talk and drive or text and drive. Both are equally stupid. 

Ellen Gering Anderson

Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field. (2009, VTTI)

Imagine driving with your eyes closed for 100 yards!!!

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