I was watching TV the other day when a news preview commercial came on and posed the question, “Are teens MORE distracted when driving alone, as opposed to driving with others in the car?” Immediately I was drawn in because I think in some cases, this is absolutely true. If you go to ABC’s site you can watch the news clip and read the article. We obviously know that driving with other people in the car can cause an immense amount of distraction and interruptions. But this new study is saying that teens are more likely to answer their phone, send a text message or use their GPS while they are alone in the car. One teen was quoted saying, “When I am alone I get bored. I am very, like, I want to answer a text message. Or I want to look at my GPS or I want to change the radio.” And I’d have to agree.
The new study says that 95% of young adults 16-21 admitted that they talked on their cellphones when they were alone behind the wheel. I tend to not use my phone while I am driving unless I am completely stopped for my own reasons besides the fact that I don’t even think I’m capable of multitasking like that without crashing my car. But I know if I am in the car with someone it is easier to just say “oh can you text for me,” or “put the address in my gps.” It surprised me that many people even admitted to reading emails while they are driving. What is possibly so important that you need to vigorously read and answer an email while you are driving? I don’t get it.
A Drivers Ed teacher talks about how kids are more likely if they are in the car with their friend to ask them for assistance in handling their texts or phone calls. But he says that parents also bear responsibility. He goes on to say that a lot of the time kids may be compelled to answer their phones when their parents are continuously asking where they are and when they will be home. He says they contribute in the fact that they need to stop calling or texting their kids when they know they might be on the road and that a lot of the time teens may learn their distracted driving habits from their parents. I know my Dad is a repeat offender of this and his excuse is that he’s been driving his whole life and I only have like five years of experience. All in all, I don’t think ANYONE should be on their phone while driving.