Teens know distracted driving increases risk of a Chicago car accident — but they use their phones anyway

Most teen drivers are engaging in distracted-driving behavior despite knowing better, according to the result of a new study published by USAToday.

As our Chicago injury attorneys frequently report, teens are at high risk when it comes to being involved in a serious or fatal car accident in Chicago or the surrounding area.Illinois has banned text messaging by all drivers and it is illegal for drivers to use hand-held cell phones within the City of Chicago. Other states have not been so proactive in reducing the risk of distracted driving accidents. Twelve states have adopted no rules at all when it comes to the use of cell phones by drivers: Florida, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North and South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico and Hawaii.

In any event, teens appear to understand the dangers. But whether they are listening is a different story. The recent survey by Seventeen Magazine found that nearly 90 percent of young drivers engaged in risky behavior, including text messaging or talking on a cell phone while driving, despite knowing the risks.

“Teens do continue to drive distracted even when they recognize the dangers,” says William Van Tassel, manager of AAA’s driver training programs. “Driving is the first real adult responsibility, but let’s face it, they’re still teens whose brains aren’t fully developed.”

A total of 1,999 teens ages 16 to 19 were surveyed. Eighty-four percent said they were aware that distracted driving increased their risk of an accident. However, 86 percent admitted to risky behavior, including talking on the phone, texting, applying makeup, eating, using in-car electronics or riding with four or more passengers.

Other study findings include:

-Drivers 16 and 17 were less likely to be distracted than those ages 18 and 19.

-Teens who had their own vehicle were more likely to drive distracted than those who had to share a vehicle.

-Reasons for using a mobile device while driving included: Didn’t think they would get hurt (35 percent); made driving less boring (22 percent); and felt the need to stay connected (21 percent).

Safe Teen Driving Tips in Illinois are available here.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the Chicago car accident attorneys at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

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