NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- While America's young drivers are aware of what distracted driving is, they still engage in those behaviors because they believe they are not truly at risk, according to a new nationwide survey commissioned by Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
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The tire manufacturer surveyed more than 2,000 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.
"People often believe they drive safely and responsibly, especially our newest drivers," said Angela Patterson, Manager, Teens Drive Smart Program, Bridgestone Americas. "However, 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."
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.
"Distracted driving is an epidemic on America's roadways, and our youngest drivers are among the most at risk," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. "I applaud Bridgestone for showing leadership on this issue and encouraging teens to take action against distracted driving."
Bridgestone surveyed more than 2,000 young drivers, ages 15-21, and found:
- One-third of those surveyed admit to reading text messages while driving;
- Two-thirds of respondents believe they are "very safe" 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;
- Overall, girls engage in distractions behind the wheel far more than boys, and
- Teenagers and young adults say their parents engage in distracted driving more than themselves.
"The 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 behaviors and make the roads safer for everyone," said Patterson. "We want the Teens Drive Smart Video Contest to be a giant step in that direction."
The contest, which is part of Bridgestone's teen safety education initiatives, is accepting video entries until June 22. Students, age 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, the first place winner will have his or her video air on the MTV Jumbotron in Times Square in New York during the month of August. 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.
"This survey confirms to us that we need to continue pushing out the message about safe driving to young drivers across the country, and what better way to do that than by giving them a platform to speak to and educate each other?" said Patterson. "Our hope is that it will not only make young, newer drivers safer, but also help parents and the adults in their life consider their behavior behind the wheel, as well."
2012 Contest Details:
- Videos must be 25 or 55 seconds in length.
- Entrants can submit their videos now through June 22 at www.teensdrivesmart.com and click on Video Contest.
- A 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.
- The 10 finalist videos will be posted on www.teensdrivesmart.com in addition to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook on July 9. The general public will then select the top three winners through online voting at www.teensdrivesmart.com.
- Official 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 July 24 at www.teensdrivesmart.com.
Please visit www.teensdrivesmart.com for survey highlights and more information. For broadcast-quality logos, digital photos and/or video, please visit http://www.multivu.com/players/English/54833-bridgestone-teens-drive-smart-2012/
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 calls home.