Car Insurance Co. Says Many Teens Neglect Dangers of Texting and Driving

Cell phone in dashboard dockState Farm Auto Insurance recently revealed the results of a new study showing that many teens don’t understand the extent of the dangers of texting and driving, despite a growing body of academic research.

The car insurance company’s survey of nearly 700 teenagers nationwide who have or intend to get a driver’s license reveals that they don’t believe sending texts behind the wheel is as dangerous as drunk driving. More than half of the teens surveyed said they “strongly agreed” drunk driving could be fatal, compared to only 36 percent who said the same about texting while driving.

State Farm’s president of strategic resources, Laurette Stiles, says more needs to be done to educate young drivers on the dangers of driving while sending text messages.

“Some teens still think the consequences of reaching for a cell phone are less severe than reaching for a beer bottle,” says Stiles. “We have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to helping teenagers understand that texting while driving can be every bit as dangerous as drinking while driving. It’s an awareness gap that must be addressed.”

Furthermore, the study found the disparity in awareness to be greater between those who text and drive and those who don’t engage in the practice. According to the study, more than 70 percent of the teens who didn’t text behind the wheel “strongly agreed” that the practice could result in an accident, compared with 52 percent of admitted texters.

Some schools are stepping in to educate younger drivers on road safety. Bob Jones High School in Madison, Ala., has decided to add a texting and driving safety class to its driver’s education program. ABC affiliate WAAY says officials in the area are hoping the course, along with a new state ban on texting while driving, will help increase teens’ awareness on the dangers of the practice.

Tyler Nesselrotte, a student at the school, told the station he believes learning about the consequences is important.

“I know plenty of kids who text and drive, and I’ve seen them on the road, and I feel like it’s very dangerous, not just for them but for everyone else on the road,” Nesselortte said. “So I feel it’s a good law to have.”

In addition to hurting a driver physically, getting into an accident can also hurt a driver financially. A motorist may find it harder to find low cost car insurance if he or she is found to be at-fault in one or more accidents.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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