Danger Ahead: Distracted Young Drivers

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of deaths among teens in the United States.

A just-released Consumer Reports survey reveals many young drivers are keenly aware of the danger of using a cell phone while driving.

Nevertheless, there's still cause for serious concern.

In a new Consumer Reports Survey, while the majority of young drivers surveyed by Consumer Reports National Research Center are concerned about distracted driving, it appears actions speak louder than words.

Rik Paul of Consumer Reports says, "71% of the young drivers polled said they've seen their peers texting while driving in the previous month. And 84% said they saw people their age talking on a handheld phone."

Consumer Reports surveyed more than a thousand drivers between the ages of 16 and 21.

Paul says, "When we asked about their own personal behavior, the numbers were lower. Still, one-third said they texted while driving in the previous month, and about half said they talked to a handheld phone."

At Consumer Reports auto test, teens takng a Tire Rack Street Survival course learned firsthand how driving skills quickly deteriorate when using a cell phone.

A teen driver says, "I did really bad at it. I'm definitely not going to use a phone now."

Some good news from the survey-peer pressure may be helping curb distracted driving. Nearly 50% of those polled say they were less likely to talk or text with friends in the car.

As for setting a good example behind the wheel, parents, listen up!

Nearly 50% of teens reported having recently seen their mom or dad talking on a handheld cell phone.

And 15% have seen parents texting!

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