"Are Young Drivers Learning Their Lesson?"
Nationwide survey reveals distracted driving behaviors becoming socially
unacceptable among young drivers; scholarship contest continues to encourage
NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 18, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --The frequency of anti-texting
campaigns over recent years has demonstrated the risks of distracted driving
for young drivers, and according to a new nationwide survey commissioned by
Bridgestone Americas, Inc., taking those risks behind the wheel is becoming
increasingly unacceptable among that group. Yet, social pressures fail to keep
young drivers from engaging in those behaviors, especially when driving alone.
The survey polled more than 2,000 young drivers ages 16-21, and 71 percent
said that reading received texts and emails is unacceptable, yet 45 percent
admitted to doing it themselves. Almost 80 percent believe sending texts and
emails behind the wheel is unacceptable, but 37 percent admitted to engaging
in the behavior.
The fact that new drivers admit to driving distracted less frequently when in
the company of others suggests that these behaviors are becoming socially
oA striking 95 percent of teens read texts and emails when on the road
alone, while only 32 percent do so around friends and only seven percent
when in the company of parents.
oMore than 90 percent of young drivers admitted to posting on social media
sites when alone, but only 29 percent post when with friends in the car
and only five percent driving with their parents.
oThree-fourths of those surveyed admit to watching a video when alone in
the car, 45 percent when with friends and seven percent when with their
oOverall, these results suggest that teens believe they may be viewed
unfavorably by friends or parents if they engage in unsafe driving
"The fact these actions are becoming socially unacceptable shows progress in
the effort to raise awareness of the risks and consequences of distracted
driving, but with this many teens admitting to engaging in the behavior
privately, there is still much work to be done," said Angela Patterson,
Manager, Teens Drive Smart Program, Bridgestone Americas. "We have to continue
to reinforce that it's not okay to drive distracted alone or with others. It
only takes one time to cause a crash that can injure yourself or someone
The survey also uncovered a sizable gap between what behaviors young drivers
admit to doing behind the wheel, and what they believe their friends to be
doing while driving. Sixty-two percent of responders believe their friends
send texts and emails when driving, while only 37 percent of responders
admitted to doing the same. Only nine percent admitted to browsing social
media sites while driving, yet believe 29 percent of their friends do so.
Overall, young drivers assume their friends are participating in digital
distractions in significantly greater numbers than they admit doing
"Over the last four years, we have worked hard at DOT to both raise awareness
of distracted driving and encourage everyone to speak out about it. Now, it's
part of a national conversation on safety that's happening between teens and
parents in communities across America," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation
Ray LaHood. "While we've made considerable progress in a short period of
time, we still have work to do to help our youngest drivers get the message
that cell phone use and driving never mix."
The Bridgestone survey also revealed several other beliefs/behaviors from
oMore than 63 percent say they take extra precautions to make sure they
don't get "too distracted."
oWhen comparing the danger of driving distractions to the danger of texting
while driving, teens viewed analog distractions, such as eating or driving
while drowsy, less dangerous than texting behind the wheel.
oSixty-five percent of young drivers admit to driving while drowsy.
oWhile 33 percent admitted to sending a text or email while driving on the
highway, 80 percent admitted to reading at a stop sign; 78 percent
confessed to doing so at a red light.
"With this many new drivers engaging in distracted driving behaviors, it's
clear we have to continue to educate on the serious consequences that activity
can have," said Patterson."The Bridgestone Teens Drive Smart Video Contest is
the ideal outlet to make a positive impact on their habits."
The contest, which is part of Bridgestone's teen safety education initiatives,
is accepting video entries until June 20. Students ages 16-21 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 $25,000; second place receives $15,000 and
third place receives $10,000.
In addition to the scholarship, each Teens Drive Smart 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.
2013 Contest Details:
oVideos must be 25 or 55 seconds in length.
oEntrants can submit their videos now through June 20 at
www.teensdrivesmart.com and click on Video Contest.
oA 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.
oThe 10 finalist videos will be posted on www.teensdrivesmart.com in
addition to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook on July 14. The general public
will then select the top three winners through online voting at
oOfficial rules with complete entry, eligibility and prize details are
available at www.teensdrivesmart.com.
Votes will be tallied and grand prize-winning videos will be announced on
August 5 at www.teensdrivesmart.com. Please visit www.teensdrivesmart.comfor
survey highlights and more information.
About Bridgestone Americas, Inc.:
Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) is the U.S.
subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the world's largest tire and rubber
company. BSAM and its subsidiaries develop, manufacture and market a wide
range of Bridgestone, Firestone and associate brand tires to address the needs
of a broad range of customers, including consumers, automotive and commercial
vehicle original equipment manufacturers, and those in the agricultural,
forestry and mining industries. The companies are also engaged in retreading
operations throughout the Western Hemisphere and produce air springs, roofing
materials, and industrial fibers and textiles. The BSAM family of companies
also operates the world's largest chain of automotive tire and service
centers. Guided by its One Team, One Planet message, the company is dedicated
to achieving a positive environmental impact in all of the communities it
SOURCE Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
Contact: Media Center, 877-201-2373
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