Startling Teen Driving Trends

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The warm summer months bring flocks of students out of the classroom and into a three-month social paradise. This means more young adults will be connecting with the vast array of digital devices that seem to be advancing exponentially. People never seem to take a break from social engagement via cell phone, PDA, computer, etc., which means it’s usually happening 24/7 – even behind the wheel. Other distractions, such as passengers and music, can make it even more difficult for a teen driver to remained focus on the road.

Performance Auto Group sells and services thousands of cars every year, making distracted driving an important issue for the organization. Our care for customers goes beyond the selling process and onto the road with each driver and family. This is why Performance Auto Group is an ally and advocate for groups like C.A.R., which spread the messages and dangers of distracted driving.

A recent study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and S.A.D.D. (Students Against Destructive Decisions) takes a look into the driving habits of teens, and reveals a high number of “near misses” that these drivers admit they’ve experienced while behind the wheel.  The survey results aren’t only relevant to parents, but to everyone who could potentially be affected, including fellow drivers, bikers and pedestrians.

Over 2,000 teens were surveyed, and an astonishing 92% considered themselves to be “safe drivers” – we would all like to think we are, right? It would feel less than dignified to get behind the wheel everyday in a machine that could cause serious damage, knowing that you are not the most responsible driver. Nonetheless, most of those surveyed believe themselves to be up-to-par.

68% of the 2,294 high school students claimed to have had a “near miss” while driving, with over half of those drivers reporting a near miss on more than one occasion. After asking what caused the situation:

  • 34% of the teens attributed the blame to other drivers
  • 21% blamed the weather

While other drivers or poor weather may have very well been the case, the details of their activity moments before the “near-miss” reveal a great deal about other possible causes.  Texting, talking to friends in the car, talking on the phone and fiddling with music were the most common activities these drivers were partaking in, with speeding only accounting for a small fraction of the teens’ excuses.

For a more in-depth break down of statistics and to view the full report, you can see it here.

Young adults are clearly social beings, especially in this age where it’s cool to tweet, check-in, “Digg” and update the world on every action you take in a given day. Obviously this activity can endanger the lives of others as well as the driver when done behind the wheel, but the really astonishing thing is that most teens truly believe they’re good drivers, when evidence clearly points to the contrary.

Most teens are reluctant to take responsibility for chores, let alone a near-miss car accident. Thus, they have their own ideas about who or what is at fault for crashes that could-have-been – but what is really to blame when everyone is seen doing it, even parents? No matter your opinion, it’s an important and prevalent issue to be mindful of, especially if you have teen drivers.  Summer  is the deadliest time of year for teenage drivers, according to AAA, since summer months contain seven of the 10 most deadly days of the year for teenage driving. Those seven days occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Luckily there are hundreds of organizations stepping up against distracted driving, like S.A.D.D. and more locally, C.A.R., and there are even programs aimed at preventing teen driver fatalities, such as Ford’s Driving Skills for Life program. Click the links to learn more and to get involved.