Teens Say Texting And Driving Is More Dangerous Than Skydiving, But They Do It Anyway

teen driver

NASHVILLE, TN--April 15, 2014: Eight out of 10 teens say that texting and driving is more dangerous than skydiving, yet young drivers are 50 times more likely to text and drive than skydive, according to a recent nationwide survey*. The survey found that while teens say texting and driving is dangerous, distracted driving persists as young drivers continue to text behind the wheel.

The Bridgestone Americas Teens Drive Smart survey polled 200 young drivers ages 16-21 on their mobile phones to find out how teens justify their distracted driving.

More than half of teens freely admit that they occasionally text and drive, although they are quick to point out that it is only under certain circumstances, like when the car is stopped or when they are alone in the car.

Seventy percent of young drivers say they're likely to text if they're at a red light. Sixty percent say they've texted while driving when alone in the car – compared to 37 percent with friends and 10 percent with parents.

The survey also found that teens know texting and driving is wrong and 70 percent have asked a friend or parent to stop texting and driving. More than a third of teens admitted that someone else had asked them to stop texting and driving before. Yet, teens continue to engage in this dangerous behavior when they are alone in the car.

"For more than a decade, Bridgestone Americas has educated teenagers and young adults on the importance of safe driving," said Leslie Wilhite, Manager, Teens Drive Smart Program, Bridgestone Americas. "We believe in making the ride more enjoyable and for many teens, that ride is being cut short because of distracted driving.We have to continue to reinforce that distracted driving impacts others on the road around you, even if you're in the car alone."

When asked about the last text they had sent from behind the wheel, young drivers most often cite texts about running late or trying to coordinate plans.

Eighteen percent of texts young drivers send while driving are to inform someone that they are running late. Coordinating plans with someone accounts for another 18 percent of the texts sent by teens.

"We are proud to help strengthen teens' privilege and license to drive with smart and hands-on education," said Paul Oakley, Vice President of Communications at Bridgestone Americas. "Tires aren't just round and black – they are some of the most highly engineered products on a car, but even so, it's critical that newer drivers understand their obligation to drive safely and encourage the same of others."

As part of Bridgestone's continued efforts to raise awareness about distracted driving among teens, the Teens Drive Smart video contest is accepting video entries until June 19. Students ages 16-21 are invited to create a short automotive safety-themed video that encourages their peers to make better decisions behind the wheel. The top 10 videos are posted online for the public to vote on, and the three videos that receive the most votes win college scholarships: first place receives $20,000; second place receives $10,000 and third place receives $5,000. Each Teens Drive Smart video contest winner will also have the chance to have his or her video used as a public service announcement (PSA) on television stations across the United States.

2014 Contest Details:

Videos must be 25 or 55 seconds in length. Entrants can submit their videos now through June 19 on the Teens Drive Smart. A panel of judges will select 10 finalists based on the following criteria: how well the video compels viewers to be more safety-conscious when using their vehicles and how well the video effectively and creatively communicates its message. The 10 finalist videos will be posted on the Teens Drive Smart website, in addition to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook on July 14. The general public will then select the top three winners through online voting. Official rules with complete entry, eligibility and prize details are available at Teens Drive Smart.

In addition to the video contest, Bridgestone is bringing a free, hands-on driver training program, the Teens Drive Smart Driving Experience, to 12 cities across the country this year. At the Teens Drive Smart Driving Experience, attendees learn potentially life-saving defensive driving maneuvers and safe driving skills from highly-trained instructors. To see where the Teens Drive Smart Driving Experience is going next, visit Teens Drive Smart.

*Mobile Survey by Penn Schoen Berland for Bridgestone of 200 16 to 21 aged drivers and 200 parents of 16 to 21 aged drivers between March 28 and April 2, 2014.

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