ERJ staff report (LMH)
Nashville, Tennessee - While America's young drivers are aware of what distracted driving is, they still engage in those behaviours because they believe they are not truly at risk, according to a new nationwide survey commissioned by Bridgestone Americas Inc.
The tyre manufacturer surveyed more than 2000 drivers, ages 15-21. While more than half of the respondents said they believed distracted driving was dangerous, they either don't think they themselves get distracted behind the wheel, or they believe they take extra precautions to avoid distractions while driving, Bridgestone Americas said in a 24 April news release.
In response to the survey, the company has launched a Teens Drive Smart contest to help educate teenagers about safety on the roads. Students, aged 16-21, are encouraged to create a short automotive safety-themed video that encourages their peers to make better decisions behind the wheel.
â€œPeople often believe they drive safely and responsibly, especially our newest drivers, said Angela Patterson, manager, Teens Drive Smart programme, Bridgestone Americas. â€œHowever, we need to reinforce that it only takes one time-one sip of coffee, one change of the radio station, one glimpse at the cell phone-to cause or be involved in a crash that could have dire consequences.â€
The survey also finds that while many teenagers and young adults claim they understand the dangers of texting and driving or drinking and driving, they don't see everything that takes one hand off the wheel as a distraction. They measure their level of safety as a driver by the fact that they haven't been in an accident or ticketed - yet.
Bridgestone found that one-third of those surveyed admit to reading text messages while driving, while two-thirds of respondents believe they are â€œvery safeâ€ drivers but only half of them say their parents would agree with that assessment. A quarter of those surveyed do not believe that talking on the phone while driving is dangerous.
â€œThe message is getting through to some extent, but there is still much work to be done, and Bridgestone Americas wants to be part of the solution, help educate and change these behaviours and make the roads safer for everyone,â€ said Patterson. â€œWe want the Teens Drive Smart Video Contest to be a giant step in that direction.â€
The contest is accepting video entries until 22 June. 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.
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Press release from Bridgestone Americas