Earlier today, Bridgestone Americas presented the results from an important survey of teen attitudes toward distracted driving. It reveals a dangerous disconnect between what teen drivers know about the safety risks of distracted driving and how they actually behave behind the wheel.
We at DOT welcome Bridgestone's efforts as part of the national conversation that is taking place about the deadly epidemic of distracted driving. This survey and its findings are a valuable contribution to this critical issue.
Bridgestone surveyed 2,000 drivers aged 15 to 21 and found:
- One-third of those surveyed admit to reading text messages while driving;
- About one-fifth admit to typing text messages at least occasionally while driving.
- Teens view typing a text message as less dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- A quarter of those surveyed do not believe that talking on the phone while driving is dangerous;
- Overall, girls engage in distractions behind the wheel far more than boys; and
- Teenagers and young adults say their parents engage in distracted driving more than themselves.
You can view the complete set of results here.
Bridgestone also launched its annual Teens Drive Smart PSA Contest this morning. You can see from the public service announcement below that the young people who enter this contest are very effective at getting the safety message across, and I look forward to seeing what this year's contestants have in store for us.
And that goes for seasoned drivers as well as novices.
Yes, there is a growing body of evidence--including today's results from Bridgestone and a survey from NHTSA--that this problem is particularly big among young drivers. But we know that our youngest drivers model what they see around them, and that includes adults who are also engaging in this dangerous behavior.
That's why the public awareness efforts underway here at DOT are so important. We need to help the public understand exactly how dangerous it is to drive while talking on the phone or texting.
We did it for drunk driving. We did it for seat belt use. And, with help from safety partners like Bridgestone and Teens Drive Smart, we will do it for distraction.