Ever since the beginning of the Great Dawn Of Texting began, one of the primary concerns with teen drivers has been emphasizing the dangers of texting behind the wheel. In a study, 46% of teenagers have admitted to doing it at least once, despite all of the efforts to curb the behavior in driver’s education classes. Brace yourself for this plot twist, though: We’ve been so focused on the texting issue that we didn’t pay nearly enough attention to other distractors, which include teenagers doing homework and even changing clothes behind the wheel.
Yeah, you read that right. In a study at the Oregon State University, 27% of teens confessed that they had changed clothes behind the wheel, ranging from putting on contacts to switching shoes to even putting on makeup. I’m honestly not even sure how this is possible, which is all I need to know that this is seventeen bajillion shades of unsafe — especially when you consider that distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents, no matter how old the driver happens to be. As for doing homework, I can’t even focus on that when I’m not operating a motor vehicle. Believe me when I say no amount of extra biology credit is worth the risk.
The bit of good news to come out of this study is that the message about texting seems to be resonating, with a decrease in the overall number of teenagers texting behind the wheel. As for the other distractors, the researchers of the Oregon State study proposed a more encompassing solution to the problem: After engaging the students in a 20-40 minute class with hands-on exercises that demonstrate the impossibilities of multi-tasking even in non-lethal environments, the students reported they were much more aware of the danger in multi-tasking behind the wheel.
Hopefully this will lead to a lot more focus on the road, and a little less poking our eyeballs with things in the rearview mirror.
(Image from here.)