More Than Half of Teens Text Their Parents While Driving

Teens feel constant pressure to stay connected—even while driving. 

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Teens are always “on.” The incessant carousel of school, homework, sports, clubs, work, friends, and family obligations leaves little room for relaxation, and even when it does, teens don’t use it to power down. Instead, they power up their electronic devices so that they can stay plugged into whatever they’re missing in person. (FOMO, anyone?)

These teens are hyper-connected and tired—and it’s affecting their safety on the road, reports a new study.

Liberty Mutual Insurance teamed up with Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) to look into the reasons why nearly 3,000 teens lose their lives in car crashes each year.

Almost half of the 1,600+ high school upperclassmen surveyed said that they text while driving, and that they have or have come close to falling asleep at the wheel.

The survey also found that one in four teens think that their parents expect a response to a text within five minutes (58 percent of parents say that’s not true, so maybe it’s time for a family talk). This assumed expectation leads 55 percent of teen drivers to update their parents via text message—even while driving.

When they’re not texting their parents messages like “almost there,” one-third of teens are in touch with their friends while driving, confirming or coordinating event details.

Stephen Gray Wallace, a senior advisor at SADD, advises parents to get more involved in their teens’ driving safety. He says,

“Today’s parents are juggling their own busy schedules, and too often, young drivers’ risky habits go unrecognized. It’s critical that parents focus on pinpointing these dangerous driving habits early and have frequent conversations with their children about what safe driving really means.”

To start, test your teen’s driving IQ with this short quiz, then click here for safe-driving discussion points