Teens Report Doing Homework, Changing Clothes While Behind the Wheel

The dangers of texting and driving are well-known, but teens need to understand that engaging in any distractions while driving poses risks.

Texting and driving isn't the only distraction that can lead teens, or anyone for that matter, to disaster. Campaigns dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of texting and driving have helped make a dent, according to a study published in the Journal of Transportation Safety and Security. But what about all the other distractions? Researchers have found that there are plenty of other things teens can occupy themselves with that don't include keeping their eyes on the road.


David Hurwitz, an assistant professor of transportation engineering at Oregon State University, led the study where he and his team conducted a survey to find out what teens are doing behind the wheel (provided they answered honestly). What his team found was 27 percent admitted to changing clothes while driving, as well as some cases of participants admitting to putting on makeup and doing homework.

In an interview with NPR, Hurwitz talked about his team's reaction to some of the findings:

"We were pretty surprised at the changing clothes bit. Teens are busy, I guess."

The good news is, the campaigns to stop teens from texting and driving have made an impact, according to the surveys. Hurwitz reported that only 40 percent of teens admitted to texting behind the wheel, which is still a lot, but far fewer than what had been reported in earlier studies.

"But there are all sorts of other distractions and teens have no awareness of the risks."

Something as simple as adjusting the radio or GPS, or talking on the phone can be just as distracting. It only takes a moment. So, as part of their research, Hurwitz asked the teen participants from the survey to take an interactive course to show them how dangerous distracted driving can be. In one scenario, the researchers asked the teens to try and write down a series of numbers while talking on the phone. The multitasking exercise proved quite difficult.

"This was just a scenario to demonstrate that having a distraction can really prevent you from doing basic tasks."

This study raises awareness that texting and driving shouldn't be the only focus of these ad campaigns, and should include distracted driving as a whole.

Read more at NPR.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.

Image credit: Getty Images
Mind & Brain

I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

How KGB founder Iron Felix justified terror and mass executions

The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.

Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
  • The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
  • The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
Keep reading Show less