Encourage Teens to Speak Up!
In April, 2012, U.S. Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood revealed a survey analysis indicating that young people are the least likely passengers to say something if the driver was texting or talking on a cell phone. He also announced that a student–designed social networking icon will be used in DOT´s distracted driving campaign to encourage young people to speak up when riding with a distracted driver.
“Distracted driving is an epidemic on our roadways, and these new findings show that our youngest drivers are particularly at risk,” said Secretary LaHood. “We’re encouraging young people across America to commit to distraction-free driving, spread the word to their family and friends, and speak up if the driver in their car is distracted.”
The national telephone survey on driver distraction was conducted by DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It showed that younger drivers ages 18 to 20 had the highest level of phone involvement in crash or near–crash incidences. These young drivers are nearly three times as likely to report having been reading or sending a text or e-mail when such an incident occurred as compared to drivers age 25 and higher. In addition, drivers younger than 25 are two to three times more likely to drive while sending or reading a text message or email. Reports of texting while driving drop sharply as age increases.
The NHTSA survey polled more than 6,000 drivers to assess attitudes, knowledge, and self–reported behavior related to cell phones. Almost all respondents (about 90% overall) reported that they considered a driver who was sending or reading text messages or e-mails as very unsafe. However, younger passengers were less likely than older passengers to speak up. About one-third of young passengers 18 to 20 and 21 to 24 would say something to a driver who was talking on a handheld phone, while about half of drivers 65+ would speak up.
The full survey analysis, “Young Drivers Report the Highest Level of Phone Involvement in Crash or Near-crash Incidences,” is available at NHTSA.gov.
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA)