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Posted on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

University of Michigan study finds teenage drivers text more than parents think they do

By Kellie Woodhouse

A recent study by the University of Michigan and Toyota found that teenagers text while driving even more than their parents think they do.


Teens are texting more than their parents think, according to a new study.

The Detroit News reported that a survey of 5,500 teenagers and parents found that 26 percent of teenage drivers read or send text messages while driving.

Yet just 1 percent of parents thought their children texted while driving, the study found.

The study also found that teens who believe their parents are distracted drivers are more likely to engage in risky driving then teens who consider their parents safe, alert drivers, the News reported.

  • Read the full Detroit News article.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

Let me preface my comment by saying that the following question/sarcasm is not at all to be taken as condoning texting and driving. It's risky as is all distracted driving (I once swerved into the other lane while trying to eat a drippy Subway sandwich on the highway - bad idea): but is it just me (thank you, Whoopi), or did the incidents of accidents go up when texting was banned due to people putting their cell phones on the seat or their lap versus in the sight line with the top of the steering wheel and the windshield where they could at least keep their eyes "partially" on the road, too? Again, not condoning distracted driving, I'm just wondering if the danger got worse when people got more stealthy about it?

Robert Granville

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

Looks like I need to design a Faraday cage car for oft-distracted teenage drivers. I could make a killing selling them to concerned parents after Good Morning America runs a segment on this study. I can see the ad now... "Worried about your teens texting while driving? Shut it down with the new Faraday Mute! Industry leading 48 mpg and the entire car is a dead zone!"


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

The study must not have used teens in Ann Arbor---what with the ban and all. ~sarcasm


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

And, if anyone needs a real-world reminder of how deadly texting while driving can be, please revisit this story from March 2012:


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 12:38 a.m.

"We all have more power and less control than we realize." - Ann Ward Simpson When it comes to texting while driving, I would emphasize the latter point.

Dog Guy

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 12:06 a.m.

People will stop texting-driving when the cellphones are pried from their cold, dead hands.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

Why is everyone so fixated on teens that text and drive? I guarantee any (objective) study would conclude that adults do the same thing at least as much.

Robert Granville

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

I don't think that could possibly be true given that a large segment of the adult population still finds it difficult to navigate the tiny buttons of today's cell phones while standing still with both hands. A lot of 50+ drivers probably don't even have texting plans.

Shelly Baldwin

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.

"... are more likely to engage in risky driving then teens who consider their parents safe," should be: "...are more likely to engage in risky driving THAN teens who consider their parents safe,"


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

Since when do parents know what their teenagers are up to? Usually not until they (the kids) get into trouble. The horror of the story is that one out of four teenagers haven't been convinced yet by their parents and peers insurance companies and ticketing nanny state that self-made distractions while out on the road are dead wrong. Maybe Apple could put some of those cool phone proceeds into a killer kids awareness program.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 7:29 p.m.

Looks like they dug back to 2002 for the file photo of someone texting.

Kellie Woodhouse

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

Haha. Point taken. I've removed the throwback to the Stone Age as an asset and uploaded a more, uh, '2012' photo.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

Wow, I'm stunned, simply stunned. Parents have no idea that their children text more than they previously thought. What a conclusive study, I guess that is the Michigan Difference.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

Thank you Rick Romero