By Arthur Elk
Often, when we talk about peer pressure, it is in a negative light. But peer pressure can have a positive spin, too.
In the battle to get teens to stop texting and driving, it appears that peer pressure may be the greatest weapon. According to a new national survey conducted by tire manufacturer Bridgestone America, it is becoming less socially acceptable to take risks while behind the wheel.
The nationwide survey polled more than 2,000 drivers ages 16-21 and found that teens are less likely to text, check email, watch videos or post to social media sites when their friends are in the car. Results of the survey showed that:
- 95 percent of teens read texts and emails when on the road alone, 32 percent do so with friends, and only 7 percent when they are driving with their parents.
- More than 90 percent said they post on social media sites when they are driving alone, 29 percent do so with friends and only 5 percent with parents.
- 75 percent admit to watching a video when alone in the car, 45 percent do so with friends and only 7 percent with their parents.
The survey also found that most young drivers think their friends are more likely to take part in risky behavior than they are. Almost two-thirds of those surveyed believe their friends text and email while driving, but only 37 percent of those surveyed admit to doing that. Only 9 percent admitted to using social media, but they believe that 29 percent of their friends do so.
It is so important that young people understand the dangers of distracted driving. Distracted driving is responsible for more than 11 percent of all U.S. highway fatalities. A report issued in February by the Governors Highway Safety Association showed that deaths among 16- and 17-year-old drivers grew 19 percent during the first half of last year – a far greater increase than for the general population. Experts believe that distracted driving played a large role in that increase.
At Elk & Elk, we are strong supporters of educating young people about the dangers of distracted driving. As parents, we cannot stress enough the importance of safe driving, no matter who is in the car. Your life can change forever, in a moment.