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Teens in Denial About Safe Driving Habits

Distracted driving is a growing concern on our roadways, and a new survey finds that teens are in denial when it comes to safe driving habits. Bridgestone says in a press release that although younger drivers know what distracted driving is, many don’t believe they are at risk and continue to practice bad driving habits, like texting or talking on the phone while driving.

More than 2,000 drivers between the ages of 15 and 21 were surveyed, more than half of who say they believe distracted driving is dangerous. However, many are in denial. Bridgestone writes that, “they either don't think they themselves get distracted behind the wheel, or they believe they take extra precautions to avoid distractions while driving.”

Despite these claims, Bridgestone found that one-third of those surveyed say they read text messages while driving, while two-thirds consider themselves very safe drivers. Additionally, one-quarter of respondents don’t believe that talking on the phone while driving is dangerous. Bridgestone’s findings also overlap with a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, noting that girls are more prone to distracted driving.

“People often believe they drive safely and responsibly, especially our newest drivers,” says Angela Patterson, manager of Bridgestone’s Teens Drive Smart Program. “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.”

There is some good news in the survey, however. Forbes writes that “the percentage who rated texting while driving as ‘very dangerous’ was just under that which rated consuming alcohol as very dangerous while driving, 95 percent, and taking drugs while driving, 92 percent. Meanwhile, 73 percent of them also rated reading text messages as very dangerous while driving.”

Patterson says that Bridgestone wants to “help educate and change these behaviors and make the roads safer for everyone.” As a result, the tire maker launched its Teens Drive Smart video contest, which encourages young drivers to submit short videos about making smart decisions behind the wheel.

In addition to educating young drivers, there are a number of high-tech tools that help keep teen drivers safe. Examples include smartphone applications that block incoming texts, as well as Ford’s MyKey system and Hyundai’s Blue Link system, which both help parents counteract bad teen driving habits.

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