Most teens don't think texting while driving is as dangerous as drinking and driving, despite academic research that shows the consequences can be just as serious, according to a poll by Harris Interactive for State Farm.
Thirty-five percent strongly agree they will be killed someday if they regularly text and drive, compared to 57 percent who strongly agree that regular drinking while driving will be fatal.
The survey also showed that 83 percent of teens think they could get into an accident if they regularly drink and drive, versus 63 percent who think they could get into an accident if they regularly text and drive.
Parents play a vital role in teens' attitudes about driving safety, according to the findings. Eighty-two percent of teens who never text and drive say they "very often" or "sometimes" talk to their parents about driving. By contrast, just 67 percent of teens who do text and drive report "very often" or "sometimes" talking to their parents about driving.
The survey shows a sharp decline in parent-teen interactions about driving after teens get their driver's licenses. Teens who have a learner's permit are more than twice as likely as those who already have a license to report they talk very often with their parents about driving. This is despite the fact that a new driver's risk of crashing is highest in the first year after receiving a driver's license.
"The conversation should not end when teens get their license," Chris Mullen, director of technology research at State Farm, said in a press statement. "Through this survey and other teen driver research, we know that ongoing parental involvement in the learning process is key to keeping teen drivers safe behind the wheel."
The survey polled 652 14- to 17-year-olds in February, including 280 who had a driver's license or permit.