The high-profile campaign against distracted driving, especially among young motorists, has seeped deep into the national culture: April is Distracted Driving Month, and the April 10 season premiere of the Fox teen hit TV show Glee features a distracted driving crash cliffhanger from last season.
Despite all that focus, a new survey from insurer State Farm indicates that many teens might still be ignoring the message.
The survey, conducted for State Farm by Harris Interactive, finds that just 43 percent of drivers ages 16 and 17 say they have never texted while driving—the same percentage as in the insurer’s first survey in 2010.
Yet 76 percent of teens ages 14-17 agree that “if you regularly text and drive, someday you will be killed while driving,” and 93 percent agree that “if you regularly text and drive, someday you will get into an accident.”
The State Farm survey comes as Glee is expected to resolve a cliffhanger from last season. Drama queen Quinn Fabray, played by Dianna Agron, was rushing to her ex-boyfriend’s wedding and texting while driving when her vehicle was blindsided by a truck. The screen went black, leaving viewers wondering about her fate.
Harris Interactive surveyed 652 teens ages 14-17 in February to examine their attitudes and behaviors around driving.
The “don’t text and drive” message apparently isn’t sinking in for some, despite becoming integrated into driver’s education programs nationwide. “Unfortunately, it has not in terms of the teens who say they’re texting while driving,” says Chris Mullen, State Farm’s director of technology research.
The survey shows some progress: Fewer teen drivers say they “very often” text while driving, and more say they do it “rarely” than in the 2010 survey.
Cheyenne Schorlig, 17, a junior at Eureka High School in Eureka, Calif., who has had her license about 10 months, says she never texts while driving.