At a time when drivers and their habits—especially in regard to cell phone usage—are under a microscope, The Allstate Foundation released information regarding the behavior and attitude of teenage drivers.

Conducted via online interviews last year by TRU Research, "Shifting Teen Attitudes: The State of Teen Driving 2009" http://www.allstate.com/foundation/teen-driving/Shifting-Teen-Attitudes.aspx found that while today's teenage drivers have similar behaviors behind the wheel to teens in 2005 (the last time the survey was conducted), a few major shifts have taken place.

Link to 2005 results: http://www.allstate.com/foundation/teen-driving/chronic-report.aspx

Some of the report's highlights include:

Texting is teen's biggest distraction behind the wheel:

          • More than 49% of teens report texting as a distraction, up from 31% in 2005

          • 82% of teens report using cell phones while driving, while 23% admit to drinking and driving

          • More than 60% of teens worry about getting into a car accident, but still admit to practicing distracting or harmful actions while driving.

Girls express a new need for speed:

           • Nearly half (48%) of girls admit they are likely to speed more than 10 m.p.h. over the limit, versus 36% of boys

          • 16% of girls describe their driving as aggressive, up from 9% in 2005.

More girls than boys report that they will drive distracted in the future:

          • 51% of girls are likely to use a cell phone to talk, text or email while driving, versus 38% of boys

          • 84% of girls are likely to adjust music selection or volume while driving, versus only 69% of boys.

Driving aggression and speeding among teen boys is decreasing:

          • 13% of boys describe their driving as aggressive, down from 20% in 2005

          • 19% of boys admit to speeding 10 m.p.h. or more over the speed limit, down from 25% in 2005

          • Fewer boys (46%) report being in car crashes in 2009 compared to 58% in 2005.

Teens still feel "it's them, not me" when it comes to aggressive driving:

          • A majority of teens (65%) are confident in their own driving skills

          • 77% of teens admit they have felt unsafe with another teen's driving

          • 82% of teens want to be known as a safe/skilled driver

          • Only 23% of teens agree that most teens are good drivers.

Fewer teens are willing to speak up in risky driving situations:

          • Only 59% of teens will speak up if they are scared or uncomfortable as a passenger

          • Girls are less likely to speak up than boys - 53% of girls reported they would say something about someone's driving, versus 66% of boys

          • Fear of social rejection and being ignored top the list of reasons why teens don't speak up when they feel unsafe as a passenger.

Teens report safer driving practices than their parents:

          • More teens (22%) consider parents in the car more distracting than having their friends in the car (14%)

          • 92% of teens report wearing their seatbelt and only 88% report that their parents wear seatbelts

          • 84% of teens signal when changing lanes while 76% report that their parents signal when changing lanes

          • More than 80% of teens rate parents as their No. 1 driving influence, but are spending less behind-the-wheel time with their parents.

 

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