Teen drivers actively discourage against texting and driving, but aren't so likely to take their own advice. This just one truth found in a July 2012 State Farm telephone survey of today's teens.
It was conducted along with Harris Interactive to garner a snapshot of the age group's behaviors and attitudes toward driving.
While a passenger in a car, nearly four in five teens -- 78 percent -- said they spoke up and pointed out a driver's distracted behavior. Once raising the issue, 84 percent said the driver corrected the behavior and stopped driving distracted. Of the 16 percent who did not point out the distracted behavior, almost half believed the driver could handle the distraction so they did not object.
"When I'm in a car with my friends or family, I say, ‘Hey, don't do that. I'll text for you.' I'm the designated texter," said 18-year old Pennsylvania native, Navea Frazier. "And they always stop driving distracted. You never know what can happen in the blink of an eye. Texting doesn't just endanger the driver but the passengers and the cars around you too."
While some perspective teen drivers put off getting their driver's license for safety reasons, teen girls are more likely to do so than the opposite sex. Of the girls, 43 percent said they would wait a bit, getting their license within two or more months of being eligible. Many of that group stated waiting until their driving skills were proficient enough to get full licensure.
"I was so busy with school, I wanted to make sure I learned enough and felt confident enough to drive by myself that I waited almost two years before I got my permit," Frazier said. "My parents and I made sure we practiced driving a lot, in a lot of different situations. I felt I was prepared for the responsibility of driving when I turned 18 and I got my license on the first try; a lot of kids don't because they didn't prepare and practice enough."
The majority of teens surveyed do not think they will get in a car crash during their first 12 months behind the wheel. Three out of four teens do not expect to get into a crash in that time period. Research states the first year driving is by far the most dangerous. More than half of teens strongly disagree they will get into a car crash – a mindset that troubles driver safety advocates.
"State Farm has conducted research with The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia that revealed a lack of awareness regarding the high crash risk for novice drivers," said Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm.. "Most teen drivers agree inexperience makes them less safe as drivers. It's equally important to understand that getting a driver's license, while an important milestone, does not make one ‘experienced'. There is still much to learn on the road to being a safe driver. Research by the Center for Disease Control and others have shown that the first year on the road is the most dangerous for teens – so extra care is warranted".