Teens Driving While Distracted

By Justin Moss

July 22, 2010 Updated Jan 26, 2007 at 12:21 AM EDT

When your friend is riding shotgun, the music is blaring, and your cell phone is pressed against your ear...

The road ahead isn't always the first thing on a teen driver's mind.

"Probably everyone talks on their cell phone while they're driving, you don't really think about it it's just like talking to another person, but it's definitely distracting," says Union-Endicott Junior Liz Little.

"People just answer them randomly and aren't paying attention to the road, or texting and run into the back of someone's car, and oops," says Union-Endicott Junior Mike Himko.

The distractions lead to many teenage crashes across the country.

A new national survey found 90 percent of teens report friends in the car can be distracting.

And it's probably not something you even think about right? You get a lot of friends in the car...

"Yeah you don't think about it at all, you think it's something normal," says Himko.

But there is one thing teens don't seem to be doing as much behind the wheel, drinking.

"It's the enforcement effort, it's the tough penalties, it's the public awareness, it's the education programs, it's the prevention programs," says James May Broome County STOP-DWI.

May says teens are getting the message, don't drink and drive.

In Broome County, fewer teens are getting into alcohol-related crashes.

In 1999, there were 33.

In 2005, it was down to 13 teenagers in crashes where alcohol was a factor.

Fewer teens may be driving while intoxicated, but they're still driving with a lot of distractions.

The national survey was conducted by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance.

Teenagers do seem to be getting the word about not drinking and driving.

But the study says the message should be expanded to include distractions

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