The Department of Transportation continues to alert America's drivers to the dangers of texting and talking on a cell phone behind the wheel. Whether it's through our Faces of Distracted Driving series, pamphlets educating parents, or presentations in high schools, we are on a rampage against distracted driving.
The American Advertising Federation and Security Point Media recently announced a PSA contest that ends on April 29. This is their second annual "Champion a Cause" challenge, and they've invited the nation’s top advertising, marketing and media experts to target adults who text and drive with an advertisement for television monitors near airport security lines:
"As this deadly epidemic begins to gain attention, almost all of the messaging is targeted to teens. Show us how you would capture the attention of the compulsive-natured business traveler - a demographic that’s notoriously hard to reach and bound to find this message hard to hear."
If you're a media or marketing professional, I hope you'll consider participating in their safety campaign.
And, as you may already know, motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of America's teens. That's why we're continuing our push to educate teens about the dangers of distracted driving.
Good data is a critical part of that effort, and yesterday the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm announced the results of an important new study of teen drivers. This study seeks to identify the most common errors teen drivers make leading to a serious crash.
- Lack of scanning needed to detect and respond to hazards.
- Driving too fast for road conditions (for example, driving too fast to respond to others, or to navigate a curve).
- Distracted driving.
Given that police accident reports don't always record whether a driver was texting or talking on a cell phone, we also suspect that the actual percentage of teen drivers who crashed due to distraction may be much higher than reported.
What makes this study so exciting is that it reveals how educating young drivers can really improve their safety. Greater awareness of the vehicles around them and the road conditions ahead of them will help reduce the speeding and responsiveness errors teen drivers make. And getting teen drivers to stay focused on driving and not on texting or talking will only help improve that critical awareness.
I appreciate the work of all of the organizations, companies, and individuals who are engaged in the fight for road safety during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and throughout the year. And I look forward to learning about more and more efforts like these in the months to come.