Teen drivers more distracted when alone

April 18, 2013 2:56:00 PM PDT
You may think that teenagers driving with other kids in the car would face distractions, but a new study finds those new drivers are actually more distracted when they're alone in the car.

Programming the GPS, answering the cell phone, and banging out a text message; It turns out young drivers are more likely to do all of those things when they're in the car alone.

"When I am alone I get bored. I am very, like, I want to answer a text message. Or I want to look at my GPS or I want to change the radio," said Luciana Fernandes, a teenage driver.

"I feel like when you are with friends you are more likely to interact with friends than to use whatever device you would be using. When you are with your friends you can also give your friends your phone and say, 'Can you text for me,'" said Amanda Zaleski, a teenage driver.

A new eye-opening study revealed 95% of those surveyed, drivers ages 16-21, talked on their cell phones when they were alone behind the wheel.

And many admitted to reading emails or texts and posting messages on social media websites.

Harold Kivelevich has been a Drivers' Ed instructor at Maria Regina High School in Hartsdale for 35 years.

"If they have another friend in the car, they have now become somewhat able to say 'Answer that for me' or 'Get that text and tell my mother I'm going to be delayed.' But when they are by themselves they can't resist, 'Oh I got to. I got to, my mother wants to know,'" Kivelevich said.

Mr. K, as the kids call him, says parents bear some responsibility here.

They need to stop calling or texting their kids when they know they're driving alone.

As for teenagers, some learned the distracted driving habits from their parents.

"We are new drivers and we have been driving maybe not even two years, where they have been driving for 20-30 years. There is a big difference," said Melissa Mulvaney, a teenage driver.