Many teens view texting while driving as less risky than drunken driving despite a sustained campaign against texting behind the wheel and research indicating it's as dangerous as drinking and driving, a new survey for State Farm insurance company finds.

A much higher percentage of teens ages 14 to 17 strongly agree that drunken driving could cause a fatal crash than texting could, the survey by Harris Interactive found. More teens also believe that drunken driving is likelier than texting to cause a crash and lead to a ticket and arrest.

"We're doing everything possible to get the message out to teens that driving while talking or texting on a cellphone is not worth the risk," says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who convenes a second summit on distracted driving Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Teen drivers are some of the must vulnerable drivers on the road due to inexperience, and adding cellphones to the mix only compounds the dangers," LaHood says.

There remains "a real awareness gap around the dangers of distracted driving, and that's what we heard in this survey," says Laurette Stiles, State Farm's vice president of strategic resources. "The risks and the dangers are not well understood by teens. I believe that one of the reasons is that they're not well understood by parents, either."

Source: USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-09-20-texting20_ST_N.htm