Here’s a surprise: Having friends in the car makes young drivers less likely to engage in distracted driving, a Consumer Reports survey finds.
The magazine, in a report in its June issue, says drivers surveyed from the ages of 16 to 21 said they are less likely to want to talk on the phone, text or engage in other dangerous distracted driving behaviors if they have someone their age in the car. The results are based on a scientific poll conducted late last year.
“Our survey showed that while far too many young people are driving while distracted, they are less likely to do so when their parents, friends, or siblings set a good example,” said Rik Paul, Consumer Reports auto editor, in a statement.
Of course, it could be argued that having the friend along is enough of a distraction. There’s also the danger that a younger driver, especially boys, will try to show off behind the wheel. Still, half of the younger drivers surveyed said they had asked a friend to stop using a phone in a car because they feared for their safety.
One out of five of the young drivers said they knew someone who had been in a crash as a result of distracted driving.
Of course, the survey also found what all the other polls always discover: everyone agrees texting behind the wheel is dangerous but many admit to doing it themselves.
84% saw other young people talking on a handheld phone while driving.
71% say they have seen someone their age texting while behind the wheel.
48% witnessed their mom or dad talking on a handheld phone while driving.
15% witnessed their mom or dad texting while behind the wheel.
8% operated smart-phone apps while driving in the last 30 days before being surveyed.
The fine print: The questionnaire was fielded online by Knowledge Networks from November 23, 2011 to December 13, 2011. Knowledge Networks selects households for its panels using address based sampling methods. Analyses were conducted with the sample weighted to reflect national demographics. A total of 1,049 surveys were completed by adults aged 16 to 21 years. Knowledge Networks received parental or legal guardian consent for all panelists aged 17 or younger. The margin of error is +/- 3.03 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.