Survey compares distracted driving habits of teens and adults

WASHINGTON — Teenagers often get a bad rap for distracted driving, but a new survey from AAA finds that adults are guilty of more of the bad behavior.

The 2015 Traffic Safety Culture Index, a survey conducted in July and August of this year, looks at teen driving habits and their patterns of distraction behind the wheel.

The survey reveals:

  •  Seventy-four percent of drivers ages 16-18 say texting or emailing while driving is completely unacceptable.
  •  One in three teens report having done so in the last month.
  •  Nearly half of drivers ages 16-18 report having read a text message or email while driving in the last month.
  •  Three out of five drivers ages 16-18 report having talked on a cellphone of any kind while driving in the last month.

But when those statistics are compared to those for adults, teenage drivers don’t look so bad.

  • Teens report texting or sending an email while driving less frequently than drivers ages 19-39.
  • Teens report talking on their phone while driving significantly less often than most adults.
  • Drivers ages 16-18 are less likely than drivers ages 19-59 to have talked on a cellphone while driving.

“Teens appear to be the one age group that’s getting the message,” says John Townsend, with AAA Mid-Atlantic. “It’s important for parents to model good behavior, and talk to their teens, and limit their own distractions while behind the wheel.”

Townsend also suggests parents and teens sign a no-distracted-driving pledge.

Around 2,500 teenagers were killed in car crashes in 2013, making them the most likely age group to die in an automobile accident.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up