A study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project reported that nearly half of the teens interviewed reported that they had been in a vehicle while the driver texted. All told, one in three teens told Pew researchers that they had texted while driving.
Now for the good news: Overall, teen driving deaths and involvement in fatal crashes have been declining over the last decade. In 2008, according to figures from NHTSA, 15- to 20-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes dropped 27 percent compared to 1998. Driver fatalities for this age group also dropped by 20 percent over the same 10-year period.
While it is impossible to pinpoint a single reason for these declines, youth driving programs like Graduated Driver Licensing are certainly having a profound and positive effect on saving young lives on the highways. Also, NHTSA anticipates that anti-texting laws and strong police enforcement may also contribute to helping save teen lives. In the first six months of 2010, no fewer than 30 States have passed legislation outlawing texting while driving.
In addition, awareness programs like National Teen Driver Safety Week are helping to educate both parents and teens alike about this important safety issue nationwide. This year, National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 17-24.