2011 Teen driving study: A Liberty Mutual and SADD report
This study, conducted by Liberty Mutual and Students Against Drunk Driving (SADDD), reveals an alarmingly high number of young drivers who have had “near misses”.
In the national study of 2,294 high school students, 68 percent of teens admit to have narrowly avoided a crash – with more than half of those (56 percent) reporting multiple near misses.
One in three drivers (34 percent) who say they have had a near miss blame another driver, while 21 percent say the weather was the primary cause.
Yet when asked what they were doing in the car at the time of the incident, teens admitted to a rash of distractive or dangerous behaviors: speeding - 30 percent; texting while driving - 21 percent; talking to passengers - 20 percent; and changing songs on their MP3 player -- 17 percent.
Only 9 percent of teens believed excessive speed was the primary contributor to their near miss,
13 percent said texting while driving was to blame, and 6 percent said their own passengers distracted them.
Despite all this, 92 percent of teens consider themselves to be safe and cautious drivers.
Close calls cause the majority of teens who have had near misses (55 percent) to change their driving behaviors. Less than half of them (42 percent) say their renewed commitment to more responsible driving was short-lived (a month or less).
Nearly 70 percent of teen drivers who have been in an actual crash say the experience changed their driving habits, with the majority of them (58 percent) saying those improvements are “forever”.
Teens are behind the wheel 44 percent more hours each week in the summer (23.6 hours) than during the rest of the year (16.4 hours), adding some urgency for parents and teens to sit down and review their family rules of the road.
Only 7 percent of teens consider summer driving to come with a high degree of danger, yet it is the most popular time of year for teens to say they have driven under the influence of drugs or alcohol (12 percent).