While knowledge may be power, it does not necessarily translate into positive action as evidenced by a recent study from Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). According to the study, most teens understand the dangers associated with drinking and driving and texting and driving, but they continue to engage in these behaviors. The study also shows teenagers have an alarming definition of what constitutes a designated driver.
The report showed almost all teenagers (96%) understand the distraction associated with texting and driving or talking on the phone and driving. In fact, 62% of teenagers agreed that it is very or extremely distracting. Yet, 86% of teens still do it. The same applies to drinking and driving. While 86% of teenage drivers think drinking and driving is very or extremely distracting, more than two-thirds of the teenagers who admit to doing it also admit to doing it after consuming more than three alcoholic beverages.
As for the concept of a designated driver, 21% of teens think that means the driver is "basically sober," i.e., the driver can have some alcohol as long as they do not become too impaired. 4% of teens think a designated driver means selecting the most sober person in the group to drive. These numbers show us just how much more needs to be done to get teenager drivers to comprehend just how lethal these behaviors can be. Talk to your kids, model good behavior (i.e., don’t text and drive yourself), use an app that will auto-respond to incoming texts to let the sender know the receiver is driving or consider using a device like CellControl.
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