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Distracted Driving Study: Teens May Be Safer With More Passengers [AUDIO]

What’s more distracting – talking and texting on a handheld cell phone, or having company in the car? The world may never learn the real answer, but a new study from Consumer Reports finds encouraging stats about young folks behind the wheel.

Flickr User Inhisgrace

Nearly half of drivers aged 16 to 21 said they are less likely to text or talk on a cell phone while driving with their friends. That could be due to the fact that the people they want to speak to are sitting right next to them, or maybe some passengers are actually speaking up.

“Fifty percent also said that they will ask someone to stop talking or texting if they fear for their safety,” explained Consumer Reports Associate Editor Liza Barth.

On the negative side, while eight in ten drivers admit texting behind the wheel is dangerous, nearly a third admit they do it anyway. More than 80 percent have also seen other young people talking on a handheld phone while driving.

Could poor example-setting be to blame? The survey found 48 percent of young drivers witnessed their mother or father texting while behind the wheel, and 15 percent saw their parents texting.

“Parents are clearly not sending the right message to their teens,” Barth said.

When Consumer Reports asked the young respondents why they had reduced or stopped distracted driving, 61 percent said it was because they had heard about the dangers involved. Other reasons were laws banning cell phone use, knowing someone who had been in a crash because of distracted driving, and family members urging respondents to stop.

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