86 Percent of Teens have Driven While Distracted, According to AAA and Seventeen Magazine Survey
NEW YORK, NY, August 2, 2010
Seventeen, AAA and The Department of Transportation team up in a “Two-Second Turnoff Day” to stop texting while driving
Teen drivers often understand that shooting a quick text message, playing with their radio, or eating while driving is dangerous. However, the overwhelming majority of teen drivers engage in distracted driving behaviors anyway, according to a recent survey by AAA and Seventeen magazine. Almost nine in 10 teenage drivers (86 percent) have driven while distracted, even though 84 percent of teen drivers know it’s dangerous. Featured in the September issue of Seventeen magazine, the results are based on a survey conducted in May of nearly 2,000 male and female teen drivers ages 16 – 19. Seventeen magazine and AAA set out to discover what risky behaviors teen drivers were engaging in while behind the wheel—and how they justify this dangerous behavior.
Of those surveyed, 73 percent have adjusted their radio/CD/MP3 player, 61 percent have eaten food, and 60 percent have talked on a cell phone while driving. The reasons teen drivers think it’s fine to engage in these distractions are varied: 41 percent think their action will only take a split second; 35 percent don’t think they’ll get hurt; 34 percent said they’re used to multitasking; and 32 percent don’t think that anything bad will happen to them.
“It’s great that so many teens are able to identify the bad driving habits that will put them and their friends in danger. But the bigger challenge we face now is to give them the tools they need to stop driving while distracted,” says Ann Shoket, editor in chief of Seventeen magazine. “It’s our responsibility to keep our 13 million readers out of harm’s way.”
Even as passengers, teen drivers worry about distracted driving, with nearly four out of 10 (38 percent) saying they have been afraid they were going to get hurt because they were the passenger of a distracted driver. More than one-third of teen drivers (36 percent) believe they have been involved in a near-crash because of their own or someone else’s distracted driving.
“Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teen drivers and the proliferation of distracted driving among teens is a challenge all of us must face head-on,” said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet. “Because of their lack of driving experience and penchant to take risks, it’s imperative that teen drivers – like all drivers – remain focused behind the wheel at all times. AAA is pleased to partner with Seventeen to spread the anti-distracted driving message and help keep teen drivers safe.”
Texting while driving is among the riskiest of common driving distractions. Teen drivers are still developing safe driving skills and should limit unnecessary risks, according to AAA. Nonetheless, the survey revealed that teen drivers who text while driving sent, on average, 23 text messages while driving in the past month. Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver and more than a half million were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
According to AAA, taking your eyes off of the road for two seconds doubles your risk of getting into a crash. On September 17th, Seventeen magazine, AAA and the Department of Transportation are asking everyone to save a life and participate in the Seventeen Two-Second Turnoff Day by taking two seconds to turn off their cell phone before driving. Instead of spending two seconds looking away from the road while driving distracted, use those two seconds to turn off your phone before you get behind the wheel.
For more information on keeping teens safer on the road, visit AAAExchange.com.
Seventeen (www.seventeen.com) is the best-selling monthly teen magazine, reaching more than 13 million readers every month. In each issue, Seventeen reports on the latest in fashion, beauty, health and entertainment, as well as information and advice on the complex real-life issues that young women face every day. Readers can also interact with the brand on the digital front, with Seventeen mobile (m.seventeen.com). In addition to its U.S. flagship, Seventeen publishes 13 editions around the world. Seventeen is published by Hearst Magazines, a unit of Hearst Corporation (www.hearst.com) and one of the world’s largest publishers of monthly magazines, with nearly 200 editions around the world, including 15 U.S. titles and 20 magazines in the United Kingdom, published through its wholly owned subsidiary, The National Magazine Company Limited. HearstMagazines is the leading publisher of monthly magazines in the U.S. in terms of total circulation (ABC, Dec. 2009) and reaches 73 million adults (MRI,Fall 2009).
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides nearly 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at www.aaa.com.