Study Finds Most Teen Drivers are Using Mobile Apps Behind the Wheel



In a new survey of teen drivers, 95% agreed that using a phone while behind the wheel of a car is dangerous. However, about 70% of them admitted to doing it anyway.

The new study, conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), found that 27% of teens will text while driving and seven in 10 will use some kind of mobile application, whether for pictures, directions, music, or capturing Pokemon.

“It’s very concerning because we know how risky it is for new drivers,” said Pam Fischer of the New Jersey Teen Safe Driving Coalition. “No other age group on the road has such a high crash risk. They’re more likely than any other group to crash, they’re inexperienced and their brains are wired differently than adults. They don’t see things as risky as someone that’s got more experience.”

In 2014, 181 driver deaths were due to distracted driving, up from 93 the year before. Around 50% of cell phone owners say that their mobile device is also their primary Internet source, which makes it all the more tempting to check apps like Facebook or Twitter while on the road.

“What’s happening is teens are really good at using social media very quickly and they may say, ‘Well it’s only taking me a matter of a second or two or three to do this,'” Fischer said. “But what they fail to recognize is that there are very bad things that can happen in that one, two, or three seconds when they’re behind the wheel. They’ve got to be focused on driving and processing what’s going on around them so they can react accordingly.”

Mike DeMay, a driver’s education teacher in Rochester, NY, agrees. “They’ve done studies. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how athletic you are,” he said; “if you’re doing more than one thing at a time, you’re doing two things poorly.”

Leave a Reply