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Your intuition was right. Your teen does text and drive more than you.

TrueMotion Family parents’ number one concern for their kids is texting and driving. 78% of parents who use TrueMotion Family rate it as a concern. Other top concerns are depression/anxiety and drinking and driving – both a concern for 42% of parents.

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Google Trends Teen Texting and Driving

But distracted driving isn’t getting the same exposure as problems like teen depression and anxiety. Check out the Google Trends data above. Search results show that anxiety and depression have significantly higher results. Teen texting and driving searches spike in late March when media coverage for texting and driving starts for Distracted Driving Awareness Month – April. Media exposure increases awareness and search trends.

Should teen distracted driving get more visibility? Auto crashes are the number one killer for teens. Teens are addicted to their phones. Are TrueMotion Family parents right to connect the two and worry so much about their teen driving distracted? Do teens drive distracted as much as we think they do?

We did the research. And it turns out: Yes, they do.

Teens are 50% more distracted by their phones than parents

Teens are distracted by their phone while they drive significantly more than their parents. In research we conducted from June 1 through mid August 2018, covering 6.7 million miles of driving data, we found that teens are over 50% more distracted than their parents. This distraction includes texting, surfing Facebook, scrolling through Instagram, trolling on Twitter, sending pics on Snapchat, binge-watching Netflix, and more – any app use. On average, teens are distracted over 15% of their time on the road – about 9 minutes per hour. Parents are distracted 10% of driving time. Your chance of crashing skyrockets 600% when you text and drive.

Teen parent texting and driving comparison

The worst teen offenders are bad. Really bad.

The worst offenders – 15% of teens – text at least 1 in 3 minutes on the road. 2.5% of teens text half the time they’re behind the wheel. We know. It’s scary. But not every teen texts and drives. 25% of teens text less than 5% of the time behind the wheel. If you’re a parent with a teen driver, this speaks to the importance of understanding your teen’s unique driving habits.

The worst teen texting while driving

Teens text on the weekend at the worst times

Teens text and drive most on Fridays and Saturdays, most likely because they’re making plans for the weekend. What’s worse is that texting and driving increases among teens late into the night. Distraction for teens starts around 8:00 AM and never slows down. It continues through the evening hours until it peaks at midnight, reaching 21% of driving time. It decreases from 12:00 to 3:00 AM, but remains above 15%, well above teens’ average rate of distraction. Driving during late hours is especially dangerous. Combined with elevated levels of distraction, this is a deadly combination for teens.

Teen texting and driving by hour

Parent distraction is almost the inverse of teens during evening hours. Parents are more distracted during the day. Their level of distraction begins decreasing at 5:00 PM.

Parents are on phone calls more than teens

One area where parents are worse than teens is phone calls, both with handheld and hands-free calls. Parents spend over 270% more time on hands-free phone calls than teens, and nearly 140% more time on handheld calls. Both parents and teens spend more time on the phone during the week.

What can parents do?

It can be defeating to hear these stats about distracted driving. But TrueMotion Family parents are optimistic: 80% think we’ll find a solution to texting and driving. Many parents download apps like TrueMotion Family to solve the problem. 88% of them recommend that parents with teen drivers download TrueMotion Family, or a similar safe driving app. Parents are also on the lookout for solutions from larger organizations – 54% would change their insurance to a company with a teen safe driving program. In the coming weeks, we’ll publish a list of insurance companies with teen safety programs.

In the meantime, what do you think of these results? Are you surprised that teens text and drive so much more than their parents? Let us know on chat.

Categories: Blog,Distracted Driving