Even with academic research indicating the consequences of texting while driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving, some teens don't see it that way, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of State Farm.
Among 14-17 years olds who intend to have or already have a driver's license, the survey found 36 percent strongly agree that if they regulary text and drive it could lead to a fatality. In contrast, more than half (55%) of teens strongly agree that drinking while driving could be fatal.
The survey also showed that teens think the chances of getting into an accident are still higher when drinking while driving versus texting while driving. In the survey, of these same teens, 63 percent strongly agree they could get into an accident if they text and drive. This compares with 78 percent who strongly agree they could get into an accident if they drink and drive.
"Some teens still think the consequences of reaching for a cell phone are less severe than reaching for a beer bottle," said Laurette Stiles, vice president of Strategic Resources at State Farm.
"We have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to helping teens understand that texting while driving can be every bit as dangerous as drinking while driving. It's an awareness gap that must be addressed."
Among teens that have never texted while driving, 73 percent strongly agree they will get into an accident if they text and drive. Yet among teens that admit to texting while driving, only 52 percent strongly agree they will get into an accident as a result of the practice.
Current teen drivers also think their chances of narrowly avoiding an accident are better texting while driving versus drinking while driving. With texting while driving, 55 percent of these teens agree they will have some situations when they almost get into an accident but will recover just in time. This compares to 36 percent of these teens who agree they can recover just in time in situations where they are drinking and driving.