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Studies Show Mixed Results in Terms of Discouraging Teens from Engaging in Distracted Driving

March 31, 2014

Distracted driving constitutes a complex and persistent danger that threatens the safety of everyone who shares the roads of Atlanta and the surrounding areas of Georgia. While there has been extensive media coverage and warnings from traffic safety advocates regarding the dangers of inattentive driving, many people who travel the streets and highways of Georgia acknowledge the risk, but do not adapt their behavior so that their full attention is focused on the task of safe operation of their vehicle.

A survey was conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and 82 percent of people surveyed rated distracted driving as a serious problem. Nonetheless, almost half of that same group of people admitted to talking on their cell phones while driving during the previous thirty day period. During that same time frame, 14 percent admitted to having read or sent a text message while driving.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and Consumer Reports conducted a national survey regarding distracted driving. The survey results reveal that younger drivers are much more likely to use handheld devices while driving. The researchers also found that a disproportionate number of younger drivers did not even view this practice as wrong or dangerous. Some of the most notable results of the poll included the following:

  • In the 30-year-old and younger group, 63 percent of those polled reported that they had used a handheld device while driving during the prior thirty days and thirty percent of those surveyed admitted texting and driving during that same time period. Among drivers over the age of thirty, 41 percent reported using their handheld device during the previous thirty days, while only nine percent reported texting and driving.
  • In the 30-year-old and younger group, only 36 percent were actually concerned about the problem of distracted driving, and merely thirty percent thought it was a dangerous activity to engage in while driving.
  • Overall the study found the following results for the preceding 30 day period: (1) 64 percent of respondents had observed other drivers texting while driving; (2) 94 percent of those surveyed had observed drivers talking on a cell phone; and 58 percent of drivers polled had observed another dangerous distracted driving practice.

Some studies suggest that the most effective way to discourage the practice of distracted driving by younger drivers involves parents rather than policymakers and public service organizations. The Medical College of Wisconsin conducted an online survey to increase understanding of how drivers, parents and teens actually perceived their own driving habits. The results all but confirmed what the researchers believed about the strength of parents' influence on their children's driving habits. Seventy percent of the teen drivers surveyed indicated that their parents influenced their driving habits. While this may seem to be good news, this is only true if parents model good driving practices. Unfortunately, the survey also made apparent that far too many parents engaged in the same distracted driving behaviors as their children. These practices included eating, listening to music and talking on the phone.

The most disturbing result of the survey was that both parents and teens admitted that they had actually engaged in these behaviors while driving during the preceding month. Ninety percent of those polled also indicated that they or someone they knew had been involved in a car crash. Nonetheless, 56 percent of those surveyed indicated that they did not modify their driving habits due to the crash. These examples further illustrate that many drivers fail to modify their negligent driving behavior even though they have direct experience with the potential consequences.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 39 Years of Legal Experience to Work For You

If you or someone you love is the victim of a distracted driver, our experienced Atlanta Car Accident Attorneys at Montlick and Associates have successfully represented thousands of families throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.