The Pew Internet & American Life Project has published the results of a study on distracted driving behavior amongst teenagers which shows that teens are aware of the dangers of texting while driving, but they choose to do it anyway.
The study revealed that one in four American teens of driving age say they have texted while driving, and half of all teens ages 12 to 17 say they’ve been a passenger while a driver has texted behind the wheel.
The report is based on a telephone survey of 800 teens ages 12-17 and a parent or guardian as well as 9 focus groups with middle and high school students.
“Many teens understand the risks of texting behind the wheel,” said Amanda Lenhart, Senior Research Specialist at the Internet & American Life Project and co-author of the distracted driving report, “but the desire to stay connected is so strong for teens and their parents that safety sometimes takes a backseat to staying in touch with friends and family.”
Boys and girls are equally likely to report texting behind the wheel as well as riding with texting drivers. As teens get older, they are more likely to report riding with drivers who text.
“Cell phones are often seen as devices that can make our lives more efficient, allowing us to multi-task in our idle moments,” said Mary Madden, Senior Research Specialist and co-author of the report, “and whether you’re a teenager or an adult, it’s tempting to think you can manage several different activities at once.”
The DriveAssist software running on the subscriber’s mobile phone automatically determines the driving context of the user. Once it’s sure that you’re driving the software signals to the Aegis ContextEngine that you’re in motion. All calls and all text messages outbound are then mediated from the mobile network, except for 911 calls which are automatically accepted.