Teenagers driving alone are as just as distracted, if not more distracted, than when their friends are in the car, a new study suggests.
Conventional wisdom would have you believe that teenagers distracted by friends in their car are more dangerous than teenagers driving alone, but it appears that they’re just as distracted when no one else is in the car.
Recently, Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) conducted a study that found 48 percent of teens reported texting more when driving alone, most often to update their parents. Equally as concerning, if not more so, 56 percent of teenagers admitted to falling asleep or nearly falling asleep while behind the wheel.
The survey found that teenagers feel that parents expect immediate responses to their text messages, even if they’re driving. Of those surveyed, 55 percent admitted to texting while driving to update their parents and 19 percent believe their parents expect a response within one minute, while 25 percent believe they need to respond within five minutes. Showing a disconnect between parents and teens, 58 percent of parents said they do not have any set expectations on a response time from their child.
Sixty-one percent of parents surveyed believe their teens get enough sleep, but 70 percent of the teens admitted to driving while tired, making them less attentive and delaying their reaction times. The survey also found that 52 percent of teens say they get only three to six hours of sleep each night during the week.
NHTSA reported that nearly 3,000 fatal crashes in 2013 were caused by distracted driving with 10 percent of those deaths involving teenagers.