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A report from The Allstate Foundation finds many parents are largely unaware that their teens are speeding, driving while distracted, and even driving under the influence. Making matters worse, teens may be picking up these same behaviors from their parents.
The findings were released in the Foundation’s new Driving Change Report. Among the key data:
Seventy-nine percent (79 percent) of teens admit to speeding, but only 55 percent of parents believe their teens speed.
Ninety-five percent (95 percent) of teens admit to getting a moving violation; only 79 percent of parents believe their teens have committed an offense.
Twenty-three percent (23 percent) of teens admit they’ve driven after drinking alcohol and/or using marijuana, but only 7 percent of parents believe their teens have driven under the influence.
Eighty-seven percent (87 percent) of teens admit to using cellphones while driving, but only 63 percent of parents say their teens use phones while driving.
The report also found that parents are engaged in some of the same risky behaviors as their teens:
Eighty-four percent (84 percent) of parents admit to speeding (compared to 79 percent of teens).
Eighty-eight percent (88 percent) of parents say they use their phones while driving (compared to 87 percent of teens).
“Teens continue to tell us that their parents are the number one influence on how they drive, so as parents we have an important responsibility to model good driving behaviors,” added Sorenson. “We must find new and compelling ways to motivate teens and parents to engage in safe driving habits.”
A new survey reveals drivers are ignoring warnings about the risks of distractions behind the wheel, CBS News' Kris Van Cleave reports.
AT&T found that as many as one in 10 drivers could be video-chatting on their drive home. It also found 61 percent admitted to texting and driving, a third check their email and 17 percent admitted to taking a steering-wheel selfie.
Furthermore, 30 percent of drivers who admitted to checking Twitter behind the wheel said they were doing it all the time, despite the fact that 46 states prohibit texting and driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says distracted driving caused over 3,100 deaths in 2013. Safety experts say drivers are about three times more likely to crash if they're dialing a number on the phone while driving and 23 times more likely texting and driving.
Twenty-two percent of the people surveyed who access a social network while driving gave "addiction" as the reason.
"In essence, it's a drug, or what I call a digital drug," Dr. David Greenfield said.
He founded the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction at the University of Connecticut.
Greenfield worked with AT&T on the survey and believes people get a high from using their cellphone behind the wheel similar to playing a slot machine.
"The reward comes in an unpredictable fashion, both in terms of what, when and where; and when the reward comes and it's positive and you actually like it, that's going to elevate the amount of dopamine in your brain, which is a pleasure chemical. It increases the likelihood of wanting to do it," Greenfield said.
There are apps available to prevent motorists from using their phones but have struggled to catch on.
One Australian company, Seeing Machines, has a different solution. It's developing a steering wheel-mounted device that tracks the driver's eye movements and triggers an alert when the person behind the wheel shows signs of distraction or being drowsy.
"We now have technologies in cars that will detect when you're doing the wrong thing and perhaps lock out behaviors that you shouldn't be doing," CNET editor at large Brian Cooley said. "This is talking about shaming people into a better behavior."
Fewer people die in motor vehicle crashes when drivers can be ticketed for seat belt violations even if they haven’t broken other laws, a U.S. study finds.
Researchers analyzed fatalities from 2001 to 2010 and found states with so-called primary seat belt laws - which allow traffic stops just for failure to wear seat belts - had death rates 17 percent lower than states with so-called secondary seat belt laws, which permit tickets only in conjunction with other violations.
“If a person thinks they are unlikely to be ticketed for any reason when in a car, then they also think odds they would get cited for not wearing a seat belt would be extremely low,” said lead researcher Dr. Lois Lee from Boston Children’s Hospital.
Lee and colleagues identified 283,183 crash fatalities among vehicle occupants age 10 and older over the course of the study period. Younger passengers were excluded because they might have been using child safety seats or booster seats instead of seat belts.
In 2001, on average, out of every 100,000 people, 14.6 died in a motor vehicle accident, the study found. That year, 16 states had primary seat belt laws and 33 had secondary seat belt laws.
By 2010, 30 states had primary seat belt laws and the average fatality rate dropped to 9.7 people per 100,000.
That year, states with primary and secondary laws didn’t differ significantly in the percentages of vehicles older than five years old involved in crashes, speeding-related accidents, crashes due to bad weather or drunk driving collisions.
But the percentage of crashes in which no restraint was used was significantly lower in states with primary laws than in those with secondary laws.
In 2007, as part of the Massachusetts graduated driver-licensing program designed to allow junior operators (ages 16½–17 years) to gain experience before receiving full licensure, stringent penalties were introduced for violating a law prohibiting unsupervised driving at night; driver education, including drowsy driving education, became mandatory; and other new restrictions and penalties began. The researchers evaluated the impact of these changes on police-reported vehicle crash records for one year before and five years after the law’s implementation in drivers ages 16–17, inclusive, and two comparison groups. They found that crash rates for the youngest drivers fell 18.6 percent, from 16.24 to 13.22 per 100 licensed drivers. For drivers ages 18–19 the rates fell by 6.7 percent (from 9.59 to 8.95 per 100 drivers), and for those ages 20 and older, the rate remained relatively constant. The incidence rate ratio for drivers ages 16–17 relative to those ages 20 and older decreased 19.1 percent for all crashes, 39.8 percent for crashes causing a fatal or incapacitating injury, and 28.8 percent for night crashes. Other states should consider implementing strict penalties for violating graduated driver-licensing laws, including restrictions on unsupervised night driving, to reduce the risk of sleep-related crashes in young people.
New research from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) published in Injury Prevention offers for the first time a safe way to assess novice teen drivers’ skills in high-risk driving scenarios that commonly lead to crashes. During the 35-minute validated Simulated Driving Assessment (SDA), nearly 43 percent of newly licensed teens (within three months of licensure) had a simulated crash at least once due to making a critical error, and for every additional error, the risk for crashing or running off the road increased by 8 percent.
The study follows more than a decade of foundational research regarding teen driver crashes and over five years of research to create a validated a simulator-based driver assessment that can differentiate between skilled and non-skilled drivers. The SDA can potentially be used to screen and assess for licensure readiness and to guide targeted skill training.