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Young Drivers Overestimate Driving Ability

Young Drivers Overestimate Driving Ability (Scary!)

A recent study reveals how many young drivers view distracted driving and how they perceive their own behavior on the road. Interestingly, while most teen drivers agree that distracted driving is dangerous, a high percentage admit to engaging in distracting behaviors while behind the wheel. Nevertheless, many still perceive themselves as safe drivers.

A Bridgestone study, released in conjunction with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, surveyed 2,000 young drivers between the ages of 15 and 21. While over 83% agreed that texting while driving was very dangerous, a significant number of drivers admitted to reading and writing text messages while driving.

27% of girls and 11% of boys said they sometimes text while driving. 38% of girls and 17% of boys said they occasionally read messages while driving. 28% of young drivers admitted they read text messages while driving at least half of the time they’re in the car, and 20% admitted to composing and sending a message while driving.

Young drivers admitted to engaging in other distracted driving behaviors as well. For instance, 53% of girls and 36% of boys said they eat while driving. While we often think of cell phone use as the most distracting thing a driver can engage in, anything that causes a driver to take his or her eyes off of the road or hands off of the wheel can be extremely dangerous. According to Bridgestone president of corporate relations Dan MacDonald, “while increased levels of engagement with all our electronic devices create a greater risk while driving, the reality is anything that distracts you in the car can be a source of danger.”

Survey analysts stated, “many of these respondents are in denial about their distracted driving tendencies and do not believe they are truly at risk.” This is revealed in the responses young drivers gave about their own perception of their driving ability. 67% surveyed stated that they were good drivers. Respondents based this answer on the fact that they follow driving rules, they have never received a ticket, or they have never had an accident.

So why do young drivers engage in distracting behaviors while they’re behind the wheel? According to the survey, 62% “take extra precautions to make sure they’re not too distracted,” while 53% “don’t believe they’re too distracted.” 18% of respondents simply stated that “parents and everyone else do it.”

This survey gives us valuable insight in the minds of young drivers. It’s interesting that while most agree distracted driving is dangerous, many still engage in distracting practices. The fact that 53% of young drivers surveyed simply think they are not that distracted by cell phone use, and other activities that take attention off of the road, shows that many young drivers may greatly overestimate their own abilities behind the wheel.

Thankfully, many states like Georgia have passed laws that greatly limit what new drivers are legally allowed to do while driving. For instance, young drivers in Georgia are prohibited from using cell phones at all. They are also unable to have any passengers who are not adult family members in the car with them for at least six months after they receive their license. It is important for parents to communicate openly with their teens about the dangers of distracted driving, and to impose limits and rules on what young drivers are allowed to do when they’re in control of a vehicle.

It’s also important for parents and other adults to set a good example for young drivers. The fact that 18% of respondents shrugged off their own distracted driving habits by stating that their parents or other adults did the same thing just shows how much teen drivers really learn from adults. Not only must parents communicate with their kids about being safe on the roads, they must set a good example of safe driving as well.

Ty Wilson is a distracted driving lawyer in Georgia and is the author of several books and reports that are available FREE at He encourages anyone who has been injured or who has a family member who has been injured to FIRST read his books, his articles, and watch his videos BEFORE talking to the insurance adjuster, hiring a lawyer, or even signing any forms.

If you have questions that you would like to ask a Georgia distracted driving lawyer, call Ty at 1-888-689-5224.

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