Save Our Teen Drivers

Advocating for driver's education changes. Educating the public on the problem. Finding a solution that saves lives.

Colorado finds 1/2 of teens text while driving

Posted by lapearce on June 12, 2009

Colorado joined 12 other states on June 1 when the state banned texting for all drivers and cell phone use for teens under the age of 18. Cell phone laws are becoming more and more prevalent, and for good reason too. A 2006 NHTSA study found that distraction is a contributor in 80 percent of crashes. Cell phones alone increase crash risk four times and make the reaction time of the driver similar to that of a 70 year old.

Teens are more at risk for crashing while chatting because of their lack of inexperience and inability to correctly idenity risk. Even though we know that, it still comes as a shock that a study by the Colorado AAA found that 51 percent of teen drivers admit to texting while driving, and 66 percent admit to talking on the phone.Even though more than half of the participants admitted to texting while they drove, 97 percent said that they thought it was dangerous to do so.

These numbers are higher than the national average, but I also think they are more accurate. Many of the percentages from other studies have been collected in focus groups, were teens are with others and an adult is asking questions. If I was 16-years-old and an adult asked me if I did something that I knew was wrong, I think I’d be more likely to lie just to save face. The Colorado study, however, was done online. Anonymity and privacy make for more honest answers, IMO.

By banning cell phone use, states hope that fear of punishment will convince teens to do the right thing. Most teens even admit that talking while they drive is dangerous, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping them. But bans and common sense isn’t enough to convince many teens to hang up and drive.

There is a problem here, and the solution hasn’t quite presented itself yet. If laws and knowledge aren’t enough to stop teens from using phones while they drive, what is? It defintely doesn’t hurt to add more layers of enforcement to the equations. Parents: make sure you talk to your kids about cell phone use in the car. Have restrictions in place and punishments if they are broken.

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2 Responses to “Colorado finds 1/2 of teens text while driving”

  1. […] numbers are just shockingly high. A recent AAA study in Colorado found only half of the teens text there, which is still more than the national […]

  2. alliwaw said

    Wow, those stats are scary! And that is just the ones that admitted to it… But, it’s not only teens that are guilty. I know adults who also text while they drive! I think there has to be a whole mind shift around cellphone use in cars: that is is just wrong, and something that is not done. Just like you get in the car and put on your seat belt, you should also put away the cellphone!

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