Study: Young Drivers Don't Think Texting While Driving is Dangerous

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Despite the severe risks associated with distracted driving, motorists - especially young drivers, continue to be unaware of the dangers and engage in what can be fatal behaviour.

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Sending text messages delays your reaction time by 35% - as opposed to the 12% delay caused by driving under the influence

A study on the frequency in which drivers engage in tasks that result in distracted driving reveals that young drivers don't believe texting impairs their driving abilities., a resource providing information on DMV-related issues and various motor vehicle information and services, has conducted a study focused on distracted driving. The survey polled 1,400 individuals on their feelings about distracted driving and their awareness of the dangers associated with this risky driving behavior.

The main takeaway from the survey is that 95% of all drivers do not understand how dangerous distracted driving really is. The vast majority of individuals believe, incorrectly, that distracted driving is less dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol. With this in mind, it's no surprise that 25% of the participants said they text while driving at least once a month, while only 2% admitted to driving while intoxicated. In fact, texting while driving increases the risk of getting into an accident by 23 times. Comparatively, drivers that have .08% BAC - which is at or above the legal limit in all states, are 11 times more likely to have an accident compared to sober drivers. Furthermore, sending text messages delays your reaction time by 35% - as opposed to the 12% delay caused by driving under the influence.

Another important finding from this study is that a third of young drivers (between the ages of 18 and 24), believe they can drive safely while talking on a phone or sending text messages. Given that texting is one of the most significant sources of distraction – texting can cause a driver to take their eyes off the road for almost 5 seconds, and most accidents occur with less than 3 seconds reaction time, this is a very dangerous misconception. Nevertheless, half (50%) of young drivers admitted to having sent at least one message while driving in the past year, and one in four (25%) admitted to texting while driving at least once a day. Older drivers engage in this distracting activity much less often, with one tenth of them texting while driving on a daily basis, and 25% admitting to having done that at least once in the past year. The fact that young drivers are much more likely to be distracted drivers is a significant concern given that they also have less valuable driving experience than their older counterparts.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the survey also showed that drivers are largely unaware of the legal consequences for driving while distracted. The fact that many drivers don't know they can face severe penalties if they use their phones while behind the wheel, could be a significant reason as to why this epidemic persists on US roadways. One in five drivers said that they don't know their state's distracted driving laws, and 60% are not familiar with the penalties on texting and driving.

These findings can play an important role in the efforts for curbing distracted driving, as they reveal some of the key issues that need to be addressed in order to prevent this behavior, including enhanced public education on distracted driving and improved enforcement of existing laws that prohibit the use of cell phones while driving.

About is an online resource designed to help simplify the Department of Motor Vehicles. As a private company, helps millions of people receive the information and services that they need quickly and easily. is a privately owned website that is not affiliated with any government agencies. For more information, please contact our Digital Marketing Manager, Jason Yeoman by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 416-723-4883. For more news and information on driving in the United States, visit

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Jason Yeoman
since: 03/2010
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