Automobile Association of America calls the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day the “100 Deadliest Days” of summer.
In 2007 The Center for Health Statistics cited motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death for 15 – 20 year olds. (The latest mortality data available.)
In 2009 the US Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that 11 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were between 15 and 20 years old.
Now, an AT&T survey shows that 43 percent of teens say they text and drive at the same time. As disturbing as the 2007 and 2009 statistics are their data predates the enormous expansion of text-enabled phones.
AT&T commissioned the survey as part of the "It Can Wait" campaign which revealed that while 97 percent of teens know texting while driving is dangerous, 43 percent of them admit to sending a text while driving – and 75 percent say the practice is common among their friends.
To view a heartbreaking documentary called “The Last Text” about real teenagers who died while texting and driving, click here .
AT&T fielded a national online survey among 1,200 teenagers aged 15-19 years old on their driving and texting habits. The survey was conducted by SKDKnickerbocker and Beck Research and fielded April 13-22, 2012. The survey was divided evenly among male and female participants and included 736 interviews among Caucasian teens, 202 African-American teens and 203 Hispanic teens. All respondents had a driver’s license or a learner’s permit and a cell or smartphone that can send and receive text messages. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3.1%.
Texting ranks as the No. 1 mode of communication among teens, with teenagers averaging five times more texts a day than a typical adult. According to the survey 46 percent of students reported sending between 21 and 100 text messages per day. Over 100 text messages were sent by 17 percent of those surveyed.
Those who send text messages while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a crash, according to Virginia Tech Transportation Research.
Highlights of the AT&T Teen Driver Survey:
Peer Pressure: Almost all teens (89 percent) expect a reply to a text or email within five minutes or less.
Knowledge but Little Action: 75 percent of teens say texting while driving is very dangerous – but 43 percent admit to doing so.
"Gateway" Dangers: 70 percent of teens believe texting while stopped at a red light is dangerous. Still, 60 percent of teens admit to texting at a red light and 73 percent admit to glancing at their phone at a red light.
Sixty-one percent of teens say they glance at their phone while driving, and 61 percent have seen their friends read or send an email, or text, while driving.
Learning by Example: According to 77 percent of teens, adults tell kids not to text while driving – yet adults do it themselves "all the time."
Forty-one percent of teens report seeing their parents read or send an email, or text, while driving.
Still, 89 percent of teenagers say their own parents are good role models in terms of not texting while driving.
And, 62 percent of teens feel that getting reminders from their own parents not to text and drive would be effective in getting them or their friends to stop texting and driving.
Minority Disparities: Hispanic teens (54 percent) are more likely to admit to the practice of texting while driving than Caucasian (41 percent) and African-American (42 percent) teens.
Hispanic teens (52 percent) also are more likely to report seeing their parents text while driving, compared to 38 percent of Caucasian teens and 44 percent of African-American teens who reported seeing their parents text while driving.
If you know a teenage driver who believes would benefit from the “It Can Wait” campaign send them this Facebook link .
For a detailed look at the survey with charts, click here .
AT&T is also offering a phone App called DriveMode to prevent texting and driving. To see how it works, click here .