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Survey Finds Teens Unlikely to Confront a Distracted Driver

Only one-third of respondents would call out a driver talking on the phone.

By Douglas Newcomb Apr 18, 2012 8:22AM

Photo by Corbis.Teens are some of the most at-risk drivers, and they are also the most likely to text behind the wheel. While peer pressure plays a crucial role in teens’ social circles, a new federal safety study finds that teenagers can’t be expected to shame their friends into putting down the phone or other gadgets -- even when they themselves are in the car with a distracted driver.


Nearly 90 percent of the 6,000 drivers polled in a telephone survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that distracted driving is very unsafe. But only about one-third of the respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 said they would call out a driver who was talking on a phone. Half of the respondents age 65 and up, by comparison, would say something to a distracted driver.


Of course, that’s not the effect NHTSA and other federal safety agencies are hoping their public awareness campaigns will have on stopping distracted driving. The Department of Transportation has further proposed guidelines for automaker’s in-dash gadgets to reduce distracted driving.


Short of a blanket ban on cell phones in cars proposed by the National Transportation Safety Board, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood is hoping that making distracted driving more of a social stigma will play a greater role. "Distracted driving is an epidemic on our roadways," LaHood said in a recent DOT statement released along with the survey’s findings. "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."


As a new weapon in its war against distracted driving, the DOT is using social media as a way to reach teens and is challenging them to develop an online icon to help raise awareness of the issue on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.


[Source: Consumer Reports]

11Comments
Apr 19, 2012 11:43AM
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I am a teen, I just downloaded an app that you activate before driving and anyone who text you will get a text saying, "the person is driving and will contact you asap," and i keep my phone in the back cup holder where it wont taunt me,.
Apr 18, 2012 2:59PM
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If you come close to hitting me,  you Bet Your **** I'm going to call you out ! Put the GodDamn phone down !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Apr 20, 2012 9:23AM
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Part of the problem with today's society is that nobody seems to want to mind their own business anymore.

Frosty, you mean like you telling everyone to drive a Toyota and Annatar telling everyone they better be driving a diesel with a manual transmission....instead of minding your own business.

Apr 20, 2012 9:20AM
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My teen would rather not drive most of the time when given the choice to have the car, would prefer to be chauffered around...

Unfortunately, I think that's a sign of the "entitled" generation.  The OWS-ers.  Want everything done for them.  Don't even want to have to learn to drive.  Sad.

Apr 20, 2012 9:18AM
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I am a teen, I just downloaded an app that you activate before driving

Apparently you are a teen with a lot of common sense.  Good for you.  Wish there were more like you.

Apr 18, 2012 2:56PM
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If you come close to hitting me,  you Bet Your **** I'm going to call you out ! Put the GodDamn phone down !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Apr 19, 2012 12:26AM
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It would be nice to have more information on this survey (and all surveys done),

 

6.000 teenagers surveyed.   How many teens were were from NYC where most teens do not drive?  For that matter most teens do not want to drive, at least not as much as their parents did as teenagers.  My teen would rather not drive most of the time when given the choice to have the car, would prefer to be chauffered around...

Apr 19, 2012 4:04AM
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I see more adults using cell phones while driving then I do teens. Maybe they should do a study on adults because I see 90% of them on the highways talking on the phone while driving even in traffic. I don't think it's fair to blame teens when in fact adults are just as much to blame!
Apr 18, 2012 2:55PM
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Put the GodDamn phone down and Drive !  If you come close to hitting me or causing an accident,  you BET YOR **** I'm going to call you out !!!!!!
Apr 18, 2012 11:05AM
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It wouldn't be them calling out a stranger, or I hope not. I think the point is would they call out a driver they are a passenger of...
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