SEATTLE – A shocking number of young drivers – who are already more accident-prone than older drivers –“text while driving.” As president of the National Association of Attorneys General, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna is helping sound the alarm about the dangerous practice.
“While teen drivers often feel invincible, the reality is that texting and driving too often leads to terrible injuries and even death,” said McKenna, “No text message is worth risking your life or the lives of others. Texting while driving should be at least as socially unacceptable as driving without a seat belt.”
Sixty percent of young adult drivers (16-24) said they have texted while driving, according to a national survey released today by the Ad Council. The National Association of Attorneys General, led by McKenna, today joined a national coalition, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Ad Council to reveal new public serviceadvertisements featuring NASCAR driver and Northwest native Kasey Kahne. The PSAs coincide with the first nationwide Stop the Texts Day, and the start of National Youth Traffic Safety Month.
NHTSA reports that distracted driving is the number one killer of American teens. In 2010, more than 3,000 people were killed and an additional 416,000 were injured due to distracted driving, which includes texting while driving.
"I am glad that I was able to be a part of this project. The Ad Council folks do a good job of bringing awareness to causes such as this. Hopefully this will help people realize how dangerous texting while driving can be," said Kahne, NASCAR’s 2004 Rookie of the Year.
The PSAs, created pro bono by advertising agency RPA, remind young adult drivers that it is dangerous to do anything that takes your attention away from the road and serve as a reminder to leave the risky driving to the professionals. They direct audiences to stoptextsstopwrecks.org, a website where teens and young adults can find facts about the impact of texting while driving and tips for how to curb the behavior.
The campaign to educate young drivers about the risks of texting while driving utilizes social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr to spread the word. The campaign also created a complete toolkit to provide additional ways the public can participate.
The Ad Council’s national survey found that 44 percent of young adult drivers (16 – 24) say that friends are the most influential source to encourage them to curb their texting and driving habits, followed by their parents (33 percent). The online survey, commissioned by the Ad Council, was conducted in partnership with ORC International’s Online CARAVAN® Youth Omnibus. Research was conducted nationwide from April 3 to 6, 2012. The sample consisted of 862 teens and young adults between the ages of 16 and 24. All respondents were required to have a valid driver’s license, junior license or learner’s permit.