Research on Teen Driving

Chronic - 2005 Report on Teen Driving

Prior to launching the teen driving program, The Allstate Foundation closely examined the problem by working with a diverse panel of expert advisors, and evaluating existing programs and available crash data. The Foundation also commissioned original research on teen attitudes toward driving through a national survey of 1,000 15- to 17-year-old teens.

Chronic: A Report on the State of Teen Driving 2005 is a result of that research.

Evidence from this wealth of sources suggests that we won't see a reduction of teen deaths associated with driving until safe-driving efforts aimed at teens address the social causes of unsafe driving behavior. The research also suggests that a multi-pronged approach to change teen misperceptions and attitudes, in particular the peer-to-peer dynamics often involved in driving, may be part of the solution.

Critical findings from the national teen survey on driving attitudes and behaviors include:

  • Parents Matter: 89 percent of teens said their parents are influential in encouraging safer driving.
  • When Friends Become Foes: 44 percent of teens said they drive more safely without friends in the car.
  • Tongue-Tied Teens: 67 percent of teens have felt unsafe when someone else was driving, but only 45 percent said they would speak up if someone was driving in a way that made them scared or uncomfortable.
  • Driving with Distractions: 56 percent said they make and answer phone calls, and 13 percent send and respond to text messages while driving, yet 32 percent classified this behavior as “extremely” or “very” distracting.

Common Teen Misperceptions: It's them - Not Me.

43 percent of teens surveyed classified their own driving as somewhat or very defensive, yet 62 percent called their peers somewhat or very aggressive drivers.

Misconception: If I'm Sober - I'm Safer

Although alcohol is a factor in less than 25 percent of deadly teen crashes overall and in fewer than 10 percent of crashes among 16- to 17-year-olds, 51 percent of teens believe that most teen-related crashes result from drunk driving. In reality, far more crashes result from speeding and driver errors.

Misconceptions: Speeding is Normal

  • 55 percent of all teens surveyed said they sometimes exceed the speed limit by more than 10 miles per hour and 40 percent said they would speed in the coming year.
  • I got friends who drive safely, but other friends, they're speeding all the time, racing on the streets. -- Male teen

Misconception: Driving Dangerously Shows That I'm a Skilled Driver

83 percent of teens surveyed agreed that people can be skilled drivers, but not safe drivers. Clearly, teens don't equate good driving with safe driving and too many believe that a good driver is someone who can take chances behind the wheel without crashing.