Survey: 86% of Teens Drive Distracted

Here is one example of why we shouldn’t take all survey headlines at face value. When we talk about distracted driving on KickingTires, we generally use it in terms of talking on a cell phone, text messaging or using other advanced in-car features. In its survey of 2,000 drivers ages 16-19, AAA and Seventeen magazine found that 86% of those surveyed drove distracted. However, they consider adjusting the radio and eating in the car as distractions.
Those two tried-and-true in-car institutions/distractions were what the teens engaged in most, with 73% guilty of adjusting the radio — the other 27% must drive in silence or have an awesome iPod Genius mix — and 61% eat while driving. Still, 60% talk on a cell phone while driving, which many studies suggest is as distracting whether you’re using a handset or hands-free device.
Phone use is also more ubiquitous with this generation of teens — meaning, even automotive editors as young as, say, 34 didn’t have a cell phone in their car until they were into their 20s.
So what about texting, which AAA says is one of the riskiest behaviors behind the wheel? Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed said they texted while driving. While that may not seem as high as the others, that 28% of drivers averaged sending 23 texts a month.
By David Thomas | August 2, 2010 | Comments (14)
Tags: Safety



I'm 19, and I'll be perfectly honest:

It's more of a distraction for me to turn the radio to a different station or change the volume than it is for me to text. My guess is that I don't have to look at the phone while I text (I have a QWERTY keyboard, makes life a lot easier) but I do have to look down to find where the volume knob is or what station I'm looking for.

Well, I'm not a teen but I do adjust my music/stations/cd tracks but it's done from the steering wheel since the buttons are on the wheel. Is that still a distraction? I am also guilty of looking in the mirror a lot (at myself) when driving...


im 21 years old so in some older folks mind, im still young, and rightfully so. heres what i do, before i leave the driveway from the house, i put on my seatbelt, turn the headlights on, crank up the ac, and then select a song to blast from my loud sound system. i do this every time i leave the driveway or from a store or bank, etc., and before i drive off. so all in all i have distractions but im not distracted.

Ford Owner

I just got my driver's license about 3 months ago, and I have a tip for all young drivers. DON'T DRIVE AND TEXT. I have seen pictures of a car accident caused by somebody screwing around with their cell phone while they were driving. I will tell you this much, Keep your phone in the glovebox. The accident was a head on colision between a Honda C-RV and a semi... Do I need to say more???
This also goes for any driver, don't drive distracted. Just remember, A car is a 4000 to 6000 pound hunk of steel moving at speeds in excess of 50 MPH or faster. It's ok to listen to the radio, But WAIT until you are stopped at a light or stop sign to adjust it. Or have a passenger adjust it for you.

I'm 21, and for me, adjusting the radio either via the head unit or steering wheel controls isn't distracting; it's more second-nature to me at this point, just because I'm thoroughly familiar with the layout. I do agree that it can be a distraction for some folks, but obviously it's not as critical a situation as calling/texting.

I mean, hell, technically looking at street signs is distracting. It's all relative though.

Chuck Hazowitz

Young kids are stupid and the previous posts prove I'm right. This is why I make my fifteen mile commute in a 2005 Ford Explorer. The gas mileage ain't great but it sure is safe.


Oh Chuck, I am stupid because I can handle distractions better than 50% of those on the road today. You are right, I apologize....

Chuck, you're a riot. I've got tears in my eyes from the laughter, thank you my friend.


chuck, your so funny. who's gonna win in a crash between a 2005 explorer and a 2001 f150 extended cab with the 5.4l v8? nobody, were both dead lol! XD

If it's not good to change your radio station or volume then why they are putting the radio, tapes, players in the in front of drivers seat?... if those all gadgets for entertain fellow passengers then put it near to the back seat, then no driver will try to do so...
i still agree that text, phone while driving are not good.

My insurance company reports – “In 2008, 5,870 people lost their lives and an estimated 515,000 people were injured in police-reported crashes in which at least one form of driver distraction was reported on the crash report.” It is very important to ensure that adequate and effective steps are taken to control distracted driving ( ).

Driving while using cellphone radio tuning always gets distracted. Mainly these things happen in teens because of their fun and enjoying in driving

I agree with everyones comments. It is wrong to text or phone while driving but I dont see it as a problem to chage the radio. Im sure a policeman wouldnt stop you for that and why would they build them into the car in the first place. Although even looking in you mirror could cause an accident cos if youre not watching the road at every split second anyone can pull out on you


I've been driving for 35 years and I still won't take my eyes off the road to change radio stations or adjust the a/c, doing everything by feel (not that my presbyopic eyes could focus on the controls anyway!)
Rockaby is a typical young driver who thinks that his brains function differently than the rest of us.
Don't be stupid and text and drive, no matter how smart you think you may be on a QWERTY keyboard.
No text message is more important than your life and the life of others.

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