Although it has recently been reported that having passengers in the car increases a teen driver's chances of being in a car accident, a new survey has found that teens who have friends in the vehicle are less likely to talk or text behind the wheel, and are therefore less likely to be in a car accident caused by distracted driving.
In the survey, the Consumer Reports magazine asked drivers from the ages of 16 to 21 whether they are more or less likely to engage in distracted driving behaviors when they have a parent, sibling or friend in the car. The majority of respondents said that they are less likely to want to talk, text or email on their cell phone when they have someone their age in the vehicle with them. Further, about half of the drivers surveyed reported that they had asked a friend to stop using a cell phone while driving because they were worried about their safety.
Of course, having a friend in the car can provide a substantial amount of distraction, as was the case in those previous findings that passengers increase teen drivers' crash risk. However, about 20 percent of the respondents stated that they knew someone who had been in a distracted driving-related crash, so hopefully distraction is something that more teen drivers will take seriously in the coming months and years.
Perhaps parents need to set a better example for their teenage drivers. Nearly half of the survey respondents said that they had seen their parents talking on a cell phone while driving, and 15 percent reported witnessing their parents texting behind the wheel.
Source: USA Today, "'Consumer Reports': Teens safer driving with friends," Chris Woodyard, May 8, 2012