Survey: Peer Pressure Helps Stop Texting While Driving
Although a new study finds that peer pressure may be stopping teens from texting while driving when friends are in the car with them, there is still a need for educational campaigns to spread awareness about the dangers of texting while driving. The study, commissioned by Bridgestone Americas, Inc., found that 95% of teens say they still text while driving alone, reports Paul A. Eisenstein for The Detroit Bureau in an article appearing on NBCNews.com.
In addition, most young drivers surveyed believe that driving while drowsy is not as dangerous as texting while driving. Bridgestone is holding a video contest to encourage teens to learn and share the facts about the hazards of distracted driving.
The nationwide survey polled more than 2,000 drivers ages 16-21, according to a Bridgestone TEENSDRIVESMART (TDS) press release. The study’s findings include the following:
- Although 95% of teens read texts and emails when on the road alone, only 32% do so around friends, and only 7% when they are driving and their parents are in the car;
- Although more than 90% of young drivers say they post on social media sites when alone, only 29% do so with friends in the car, and only 5% with their parents on board;
- While three-quarters of those surveyed admit to watching a video when alone in the car, only 45 do when with friends in the car, and only 7% when their parents are in the vehicle;
- This suggests that social pressure is having a positive effect, helping teen drivers to cut down on distracted driving, as TDS News notes:
‘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 else.’
The survey also found there is a large gap between those behaviors young drivers admit to doing behind the wheel and what they think their friends are doing when they are driving:
- A full 62% of those surveyed believe their friends text and email while driving, whereas only 37% of those surveys admitted to doing that;
- Only 9% admitted to using social media while driving, but they believe that 29% of their friends so;
- “Overall, young drivers assume their friends are participating in digital distractions in significantly greater numbers than they admit doing themselves,” the press release says.
In addition, the survey found that: more than 63% of young drivers said they take extra precautions to make sure they do not get “too distracted” while driving; teens believe that such activities as eating while driving or driving while drowsy are less dangerous than texting while driving; and 65% of young drivers admit to driving while drowsy.
To educate new drivers about the dangers of distracted driving in its many forms, Bridgestone invites students from 16 to 21 to enter The Bridgestone Teens Drive Smart Video Contest. Young people can submit videos until June 20. The top 10 videos will be posted online for the public to vote on.
The students who make the three videos that receive the most votes will receive college scholarships: $25,000 for first place; $15,000 for second place, and $10,000 for third place. In addition, each of the three winners will have a chance to have his or her video appear on television throughout the U.S. as a public service announcement.
Each video must be either 25 or 55 seconds long, and will be judged on how well it compels viewers to be more safety-conscious while driving, and on how effectively and creatively the video communicates its message. To enter a video, go to www.teensdrivesmart.com and click on Video Contest. The prize-winning videos will be announced on August 5.