It's a common perception that those idiotic, irresponsible teenagers just can't stop texting and driving. But as it turns out, adults are more likely to text and drive than teens. So maybe we can all stop hating on teens now?
According to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, teens might be seen as more irresponsible behind the wheel, but it's actually adults who are far more likely to make the dangerous decision to text while driving. In fact, when you look at any type of phone behavior while driving, adults between the ages of 25 and 39 are always the most likely culprits, whether it's sending a text, reading a text, surfing the Internet, or even just talking on the phone.
When it comes to texting, for instance, about 27 percent of the participants ages 16 to 18 reported having sent a text while driving during the past 30 days; for people aged 19 to 24, that number is around 41 percent, and a whopping 45 percent for adults aged 25 to 39. The least likely culprits, though are still people age 75 or above. Which makes sense given that I don't know many 75 year olds who text at all, let alone do it while driving.
People like to claim that teenagers are so obsessed with their phones they can't manage to put them down long enough to drive — even though such behavior can be fatal. According to the CDC, 17 percent of car crashes that resulted in injury were caused by "distracted driving," which often involves using a phone. Also states that have passed laws allowing police to pull people over for texting and driving have seen a drop in crash-related fatalities. But although people's image of texting and driving often involves teens, it turns out teens aren't the primary culprits when it comes to this behavior.
There's no doubt that a lot of teens aren't very good drivers — which is unsurprising considering they haven't yet gotten the years of practice most adults have had. But even though it's easy to scapegoat teens as irresponsible, in this particular instance, it's more likely that the grown ups are irresponsible. In fact, when it comes to talking on the phone or reading a text or email while driving, even the 40 to 59 year old demographic are more likely culprits than teens.
In other words, maybe it's not teens at all, but their parents that we should be worried about.
You can find a full break down of the data here.