Consumer Reports survey teen drivers
May 18, 2012 (WPVI) -- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of deaths among teens in the United States.
A just-released Consumer Reports survey reveals many young drivers are keenly aware of the danger of using a cell phone while driving.
Nevertheless, there's still cause for serious concern.
Whether it's texting or talking, teenagers like to stay in touch.
"I'll meet you at like 4," Elizabeth Benway speaks into her phone.
But a new Consumer Reports' survey shows many young drivers are aware that this is risky behavior.
"Don't you just know that it's dangerous, and you can't just put it down for 15 minutes?" Elizabeth asks.
"It's an easy thing to avoid. You can just wait until you get there and text," said Rachel Eisman.
But while the majority of young drivers surveyed by Consumer Reports National Research Center are concerned about distracted driving, it appears actions speak louder than words.
"71% of the young drivers polled said they've seen their peers texting while driving in the previous month. And 84 percent said they saw people their age talking on a handheld phone," explained Rik Paul from Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports surveyed more than a thousand drivers between the ages of 16 and 21.
"When we asked about their own personal behavior, the numbers were lower. Still, one-third said they texted while driving in the previous month, and about half said they talked on a handheld phone," said Rik.
At Consumer Reports auto test, teens taking a Tire Rack Street Survival course learned firsthand how driving skills quickly deteriorate when using a cell phone.
"I did really bad at it," said one teen driver. "I'm definitely not going to use a phone now."
Some good news from the survey, peer pressure may be helping curb distracted driving. Nearly 50 percent of those polled say they were less likely to talk or text with friends in the car.
"I don't think anyone should do it," Rachel said.
"I probably wouldn't get in the car with them or tell them that I'm only going to drive with you if you're not going to text while you're driving," said Jacqueline Colao.
As for setting a good example behind the wheel, parents, listen up! Nearly 50 percent of teens reported having recently seen their mom or dad talking on a handheld cell phone. And 15 percent have seen parents texting!
consumer reports, driving, teens, accident, consumer news, erin o'hearn
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