Parents in New York may not like the answer to the above question. However, a recent survey by a leading insurance company revealed that the threat of a ticket or other penalty is not what would convince most teens to leave their phones in their pockets or purses while they drive. In fact, more than half of the teens stated that being involved in a crash while texting is their biggest concern. Those who share the road with such drivers may have just as much reason to be concerned.
Of course, for teens, as with most drivers, texting is only one method of distraction. Having other teens in the vehicle with them is a major source of distraction for 94% of drivers, and their navigation and entertainment systems distract more than 70% of teens. Even skilled drivers often find these distractions too dangerous to handle deftly, so imagine the great risk when brand new drivers try to contend with them.
What isn’t working?
As valiant as the effort may seem, “safe-driving contracts” seem to influence only a small number of teen drivers. About 6% of teens say they abide by those contracts. Stricter laws with harsh penalties for distracted driving concern about half of teen drivers, but parental punishment deters only 13% of those surveyed.
However, some analysts are not discouraged by the report. They believe the results can help to channel educational resources more accurately. For example, teens reported that knowing someone whose texting resulted in a crash and hearing stories about tragic distracted driving accidents has some influence over their decision to avoid texting and driving.