While Teens Take An Active Role Discouraging Texting and Driving, Many Still Text Themselves

A new State Farm® and Harris Interactive survey takes the pulse of this year's class of new teen drivers

Aug 28, 2012, 08:00 ET from State Farm

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Aug. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Teen voices count when it comes to texting while driving according to a national survey conducted in July by State Farm and Harris Interactive.  However, for many teens, the attitude around texting while driving may still be "do as I say – not as I do."

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While a passenger in a car, nearly four in five teens (78%) said they spoke up and pointed out a driver's distracted behavior.  Once raising the issue, 84 percent said the driver listened and stopped driving distracted.

"When I'm in a car with my friends or family, I say, 'Hey, don't do that. I'll text for you.'  I'm the designated texter," said 18-year old Pennsylvania native, Navea Frazier. "And they always stop driving distracted.  You never know what can happen in the blink of an eye.  Texting doesn't just endanger the driver but the passengers and the cars around you too."

Of the nearly one in five teens (16%) who did not point out the distracted behavior, almost half (48%) stated they felt the driver could handle the distraction so they did not speak up.

The survey also indicated that while the majority of teens tell others not to text and drive, about a third still engage in the behavior themselves.  In the survey, 34 percent indicated they had engaged in texting while driving.

"It was very promising to see so many teens voice their concerns about this issue and see that the drivers listened to them and took action," says said Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm.  "Research tells us that texting while driving can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving.  More education and conversations need to occur so teens understand that no one can handle driving distracted."

Teen Girls Twice As Likely To Put Off Their License For Safety Reasons

In the survey, 54 percent of teens say they have or will get their driver's license within one month of being eligible to drive while 43 percent said they would wait slightly, getting their license within two or more months of being eligible. Of those that said they would wait more than one month, teen girls were more than twice as likely as teen boys to state their reason as not believing their driving skills were proficient enough to get full licensure.

"I was so busy with school, I wanted to make sure I learned enough and felt confident enough to drive by myself that I waited almost two years before I got my permit," Frazier said. "My parents and I made sure we practiced driving a lot, in a lot of different situations.  I felt I was prepared for the responsibility of driving when I turned 18 and I got my license on the first try; a lot of kids don't because they didn't prepare and practice enough."

Majority Of Teens Don't Think They Will Get In A Car Crash During Their First Year Driving

According to the survey, approximately three out of four teens do not expect to get into a crash during their first year of driving, despite research stating the first year is by far the most dangerous. More than half of these teens strongly disagree they will get into a car crash – a mindset that concerns many teen driver safety advocates because new drivers often lack a complete set of driving skills as novice drivers.

"State Farm has conducted research with The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia ® that revealed a lack of awareness regarding the high crash risk for novice drivers," Mullen said.  "Most teen drivers agree inexperience makes them less safe as drivers.  It's equally important to understand that getting a driver's license, while an important milestone, does not make one 'experienced'.  There is still much to learn on the road to being a safe driver.  Research by the Center for Disease Control and others have shown that the first year on the road is the most dangerous for teens – so extra care is warranted."

A Different Approach To The Leading Public Health Risk To Teens

Using this research as a guide, beginning this fall, State Farm is launching a different approach to engaging teens on this important topic.  A supportive and positive approach to teen driver safety may hold the key in breaking through, according to research findings.  While scare tactics work with some, other teens can have the tendency tune out.

Across North America, on Saturday, September 15th, high school officials, safety advocates, local law enforcement, and government leaders will join with tens of thousands of teens and their parents for a celebration in honor of this year's class of new teen drivers.  "Celebrate My Drive" events are currently scheduled in more than 300 communities large and small – making it North America's largest-ever simultaneous gathering of new teen drivers.

Learn more about the new initiative at www.celebratemydrive.com.

About the Survey

This survey was conducted by telephone within the United States between July 24 through July 30 2012 by Harris Interactive on behalf of State Farm among 650 U.S. 14-18 year olds. Figures for age, sex, geographic region, and race/ethnicity were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.   For more information please contact Melissa Paulik, 309-766-3886.

About State Farm®

State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 43 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com or in Canada http://www.statefarm.ca.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in more than 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

SOURCE State Farm