Red Line Fever: Cured?
Texas teens are trying to be safe drivers, but there's still gaps in their road safety education
By Richard Whittaker,
4:21PM, Tue. Oct. 30, 2007
Texas teens aren't necessarily bad drivers - if they can take the cell phone out of their hands.
The Texas Transportation Institute, as part of their Teens in the Driver Seat campaign, surveyed 4,400 teens at 18 Texas high schools to find out if they were aware of dangerous driving habits, and how often they were likely to indulge in them. 80% had either a driver's permit or license, and, in good news, most students knew about the big traditional risks and avoided them. Only 2% of students surveyed didn't know that any of the top bad habits – drinking/drugs, cell phone/texting, speeding, too many teen passengers, using a seatbelt and driving at night – might get them killed or increase the risk of a serious accident.
However, 67% have talked on the phone while driving, while 51% have either read or written a text while driving. However, there's a weird twist there: it seems that urban kids are a little bit smarter about the risks, because students polled from rural areas were twice as likely to be on the phone while barreling along the road.
But a bigger issue may be a lack of understanding of the law. Only 42% had taken a formal driving education class, and only 50% knew about the graduated licensing law, which sets different standards the longer a driver has held their license. This could explain why only one polled teen in five knew they had to have an accompanying adult if they had other teenagers in their car.
Visit the TTI website for the full results.