Distracted driving has joined smoking, drinking, drug use, and unprotected sex on the list of behaviors that teens know are risky but engage in nonetheless.
According to a national survey by Consumer Reports, half of all teens surveyed had used a handheld phone while driving in the past 30 days, while 30 percent copped to texting. Eight percent said they operated a smart phone app and seven percent used email or social media while driving. But how many considered this behavior a bad idea? Fully 63 percent said talking on the phone could be considered "dangerous," while almost all of them thought the others qualified, with about 80 percent agreeing to adding the word "very" to that description, according to CR.
We've already seen clever public service announcements attempting to curb this behavior, and CR's survey says the publicity is working. Over 60 percent of respondents said they were influenced to stop or reduce phone use while driving by reading or hearing about the problem, while only 40 percent responded to legal bans. And of course, family members laying down the law fared the worst, at only 30 percent saying that caused them to knock it off and put the phone down when behind the wheel.
Unsurprisingly, CR found that positive peer pressure could help curb the behavior, as almost 50 percent said they were less likely to talk on the a handheld cell phone or text if they had a buddy in the car. The magazine inferred that this could have to do with the half of respondents who said they had asked someone to stop using their phone while they were a passenger.
Of course, this problem with talking and texting while driving isn't restricted to teenagers. Just like kids growing up in the 1980s learned to do drugs by watching their parents, the youth of today are witnessing mom and dad engaging in distracted driving. CR says 48 percent of young drivers said they'd seen a parent talking on the phone while driving and 15 percent caught one texting.
This got us thinking: Maybe it's time to reboot our favorite PSA of all time. Scroll down to watch.