A survey finds teenage passengers aren't afraid to tell their friends to stop texting and driving. But the same survey finds about a third of those who will correct the behavior admit they do it themselves. Bloomington-based State Farm Insurance and Harris Interactive conducted the survey of 650 14-18 year olds during late July. State Farm's Director of Technology Research Chris Mullen says the finding underscores the need to set good examples for teens.
"Them admitting to texting, we need to make sure from the beginning when they're learning to drive that they see this as an unsafe behavior. That they see that the safer behavior has benefits in doing so. That their passengers will view them as caring about their passengers, as caring about being a safe driver."
Mullen says, despite the ironic results, there's a silver lining.
"They know that it's unsafe, and the fact that they're admitting in this survey and telling us that they're speaking up is very encouraging."
The survey found most teen passengers aren't afraid to point out the distracted driving behaviors of their friends at the wheel, but of those who ignore it, about half felt their friends were driving in a safe manner. Mullen says that indicates inexperience.
"Keeping in mind that this is a perception of a teen that they feel the driver can handle it, but maybe they don't yet understand the seriousness of the task of driving and all that is involved"
The survey found four of five teens speak up when they see distracted driving, and once the issue is raised 84% of drivers stopped texting. But it also found of the one in five who didn't speak up, 48% felt the driver could handle the distraction. State Farm officials say highlighting positive aspects of driving can be more effective than "scare tactics" so the company is holding 360 simultaneous events nationwide Saturday September 15 called "Celebrate My Drive." In central Illinois, they will occur in Gibson City and Peoria.
Find more information about the Celebrate My Drive events.
Learn more about efforts to keep teen driving safe.
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