Rural teens have mixed feelings about safe driving: study

February 20, 2013

Iowa City, IA – Teens living in rural areas have mixed attitudes about safe driving behaviors, according to a recent study.

Researchers from the University of Iowa and the Des Moines, IA-based Blank Children’s Hospital surveyed 160 teens from rural Iowa. More than 90 percent of participants agreed that always wearing a safety belt and avoiding cell phone use while driving are safe behaviors. However, about 37 percent disagreed that exceeding the speed limit is always dangerous, and nearly 42 percent disagreed that drivers must follow all traffic laws to be considered a safe driver.

Researchers found that teens from isolated rural areas were more likely than teens from small rural towns to recognize unsafe driving behaviors, according to the study abstract. They recommended more emphasis on unsafe rural road behaviors, such as turning sharply on gravel roads or immediately passing slow-moving vehicles, in teen driving education.

The study was published in the Winter issue of The Journal of Rural Health.