Mobile technology use behind the wheel is declining among teens

external battery charger distracted texting auto car mobile technology

A recent study has shown that adolescents aren’t as likely to text while driving as they once were.

According to the results of a new study on mobile technology use that was conducted in Canada as a collaboration between Simon Fraser University (with a team of researchers led by professor Simon Pek) and the University of Regina (under professor Sean Tucker), the number of teens who are texting while behind the wheel could be falling.

The research was conducted over a period of three years and took two groups of teens into consideration.

The results of this mobile technology usage study showed that there was a considerable 21 percent decrease in the number of teens who said that they “sometimes to almost always” text while they were driving. Tucker explained that he is used to seeing students in the University of Regina hallways, whose devices are “welded” to their hands and with their eyes aimed exclusively at their screens. “It’s dangerous for them to walk around, it’s distracted walking, but the consequences are far greater when they get behind the wheel and they carry on that behavior,” he said.

Tucker’s main focus in this mobile technology study has to do with the prevention of injury in workplaces.

distracted texting auto car mobile technologyAmong Canadian drivers, adolescents make up about 13 percent of the total. However, they are involved in about 25 percent of all road injuries and fatalities. Those statistics are according to research conducted by Parachute Canada, which partnered with the universities for this study and is a non-profit organization with a focus on the prevention of injury among young people.

The two groups of teens were surveyed about a range of different types of risky driving behaviors in which they may have taken part, such as speeding and using mobile devices while operating a vehicle. A five point scale was used to determine the frequency of participation in these behaviors. They ranged from “hardly ever” up to “almost always”, with “sometimes” in the middle of the spectrum.

The original mobile technology and driver safety study was conducted in 2012-2013, in which 27 percent of the respondents – made up of 6,133 teens – claimed that they “sometimes” to “almost always” text behind the wheel. The second group was surveyed in 2014-2015 and that figure fell by 6 percent in the group of 4,450 survey participants.

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