New survey shows distracted driving persists among teens

{}Bridgestone Americas Teens Drive Smart survey polled 200 young drivers ages 16-21 on their mobile phones to find out how teens justify their distracted driving.

More than half of teens freely admit that they occasionally text and drive, although they are quick to point out that it is only under certain circumstances, like when the car is stopped or when they are alone in the car.

Seventy percent of young drivers say they're likely to text if they're at a red light. Sixty percent say they've texted while driving when alone in the car, compared to 37 percent with friends and 10 percent with parents.

The survey also found that teens know texting and driving is wrong and 70 percent have asked a friend or parent to stop texting and driving. More than a third of teens admitted that someone else had asked them to stop texting and driving before.{}However, teens continue to engage in this dangerous behavior when they are alone in the car.

"For more than a decade, Bridgestone Americas has educated teenagers and young adults on the importance of safe driving," said Leslie Wilhite, Manager, Teens Drive Smart Program, Bridgestone Americas. "We believe in making the ride more enjoyable and for many teens, that ride is being cut short because of distracted driving. We have to continue to reinforce that distracted driving impacts others on the road around you, even if you're in the car alone."

When asked about the last text they had sent from behind the wheel, young drivers most often cite texts about running late or trying to coordinate plans.

Eighteen percent of texts young drivers send while driving are to inform someone that they are running late. Coordinating plans with someone accounts for another 18 percent of the texts sent by teens.

As part of Bridgestone's continued efforts to raise awareness about distracted driving among teens, students ages 16-21 are invited to 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 $20,000; second place receives $10,000 and third place receives $5,000. Each Teens Drive Smart video contest 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. Videos will be accepted until June 19.