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.

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