Friday, September 4, 2015

Always-On Lifestyle Puts Teens at Risk, Study Finds

Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) have released a study that measured teen driving attitudes and behaviors. The study found that most teens engage in dangerous driving behaviors as a result of maintaining an “always-on” lifestyle, fueled by a fear of missing out. This condition is so common that its acronym, FOMO, was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

The study found that nearly half (48%) of teens text more when they are alone in the car—often to update their parents. Worse, an alarming 56% of teens have fallen asleep or nearly fallen asleep at the wheel.

The survey revealed that parents may be the unwitting culprits. According to Liberty Mutual, teens feel that their parents, more than anyone else, expect immediate replies to their text messages, even while driving: 55% of teens report texting while driving in order to update parents.

Additional results point to the dangerous effect FOMO has on teens.
  • 37% of teens text to coordinate event details;
  • 34% take their eyes off the road when app notifications come in while driving;
  • 88% of teens who consider themselves safe drivers report using phone apps on the road.

To help parents and teens reduce these risks on the road, Liberty Mutual and SADD suggest that parents consider signing a parent-teen driving contract, both as a way to start a conversation about safety and to provide everyone with guidelines for practicing and supporting safer behavior behind the wheel.