A nationwide survey commissioned by Bridgestone Americas Inc. found that while teens say texting and driving is dangerous, distracted driving persists as young drivers continue to text behind the wheel. The company is sponsoring a scholarship contest to encourage teens to drive responsibly.
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.
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 the survey.
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.
* 70% of young drivers say they’re likely to text if they’re at a red light.
* 60% say they’ve texted while driving when alone in the car – compared to 37% with friends and 10%with parents.
“For more than a decade, Bridgestone Americas has educated teenagers and young adults on the importance of safe driving,” says Leslie Wilhite, manager of Bridgestone’s Teens Drive Smart Program. “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.”
As part of Bridgestone’s 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. For contest details, visit www.teensdrivesmart.com.
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. 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 www.teensdrivesmart.com.
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.