The U.S. Department of Transportation and Bridgestone Americas are collaborating to release a series of safe driving public service announcements created by teenagers as part of the 2012 Teens Drive Smart Video Contest. According to a press release issued by Bridgestone, the program “empowers teens to create impactful videos that influence their peers to make smart, responsible decisions when they drive.” These public service announcements will then be distributed to television stations nationwide to help disseminate these messages.
Distracted Driving Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 11 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash in the year 2011. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted. Also, a Pew Research Center study showed that 40 percent of American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger.
According to California Highway Patrol’s statistics, the number of citations issued for hand-held cell phones has increased in California – from 7,779 in July 2008 to 12,761 in July 2009. Since the hand-held law became effective, CHP officials have issued a total of 173,616 citations for violations. According to NHTSA, all forms of distracted driving caused 515,000 personal injuries and 5,870 fatalities in 2008, nationally.
Protecting Our Young Drivers
These public service announcements that were created for teens by teens is a great idea. People of any age group tend to listen just a little better when the message comes from their own peers. The issue of distracted driving is extremely important for all age groups, particularly for teens in a country where auto accidents are the number one cause of teen fatalities. Strong parenting and leading by example can also be great ways to reinforce safe driving messages among our youth. These are tragedies that can entirely be prevented. I hope that many television stations across the country will air these public service announcements sowing the seeds of change in our communities and sending the message that making smart driving decisions can help save lives.
To view the complete finalists list go to: Teens Drive Smart Finalists