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Does Your Teen Find Drinking And Driving Worse Than Texting?

By Melanie Batenchuk
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(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Parents of teenagers have plenty to focus on. There are so many conversations that have to be had at that age – under-age drinking and texting and driving are just two of them.

A 2012 State Farm and Harris Interactive survey of 650 teens compared their views on texting while driving versus driving drunk and their perceived likelihood of dying from each behavior.

You may or may not be surprised to know that the majority of teens surveyed (57 percent) admitted to texting while driving.

When asked about the fatal consequences of driving while inebriated or texting when in the driver’s seat, more teens believed they would be killed in the long run from driving drunk.

But is there a major difference? Both impair your driving ability and often lead to loss of life.

A 2006 study by the University of Utah compared the levels of impairment from cell phone use while driving and being intoxicated, and it identified similarities in the driver’s delayed ability to react.

What should you do as a concerned parent?

Parents should talk to kids about safe driving habits before and after they obtain a license.

One key discovery from the State Farm study showed that parents’ conversations with their kids about driving declined after the teen obtained his or her license.

“The conversation should not end when teens get their license,” said Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm, in a press statement. “Through this survey and other teen driver research, we know that ongoing parental involvement in the learning process is key to keeping teen drivers safe behind the wheel.”

What kinds of boundaries do you set for your teen driver on texting? Have you had specific conversations with your young driver about distracted driving? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.


About Melanie Batenchuk:  Melanie Batenchuk is the founder and editor of Be Car Chic, a website dedicated to sharing industry news and automotive advice. She is recognized as a subject matter expert within the auto community, particularly in the areas of consumer advice and distracted driving. Melanie also heads the automotive sector practice as Vice President at Beekeeper Group, a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C.

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