For Teens, Distracted Driving Not Seen as Accident Danger

2347598For many teenagers, texting while driving is not as dangerous as people make it out to be. This is according to a new survey from State Farm Insurance. The insurance giant found that most teens believe texting is less risky than drinking and driving, though research shows it could be even more dangerous.

According to a press release from the company, 36 percent of teens between 14 and 17 years of age strongly agree they could be killed one day if they regularly text and drive while 55 percent believe drinking and driving could lead to a fatal accident. Sixty-three percent believe they could get into an accident from texting and driving, while 78 percent believe they could get into an accident if they are drinking and driving.

The survey was administered by Harris Interactive in July and asked the questions of nearly 700 teens.

Perhaps not surprisingly, those teens who already text and drive don’t see it as dangerous as those who refrain from the practice. Among those who abstain, 73 percent believe texting and driving could lead to an accident, while only 52 percent of those who actually text and drive believe they could be in an accident.

Teens belief in whether or not they will be in an accident seems to boil down to what they think of their reaction time. Fifty-five percent believe they will get into situations when texting and driving that will allow them to narrowly miss an accident by recovering just in time. For drinking and driving, only 36 percent thinks they would recover in time.

The opinions of these teens matter because they are sharing the roads with everyone else. And it seems they are getting incorrect information, or merely assuming drunk driving is more dangerous because the campaign against it has been going on the longest.

In all actuality, the reaction time of someone texting may be slower than one who has been drinking. A study from the United Kingdom found that reaction time when texting was reduced 35 percent in people ages 17 to 24, while it was reduced only 12 percent after drinking to the legal limit.

The bottom line is: teens and all drivers must be made aware of the risks of texting and driving. A single texting driver puts everyone on the road at risk.