They were surprised when I shared with them that according to studies, they were considered worse drivers than the elderly. I was surprised when I polled them, that 90% knew of a teenage that had driven under the influence.
I think my family was most excited about this project. I was the most fearful. I had to present to a few hundred high-school students about driving distractions. Those of you who have ever driven with me are likely to be chuckling right now. The statistics were alarming and now I am literally scared to death to pick up my phone while driving.
- Leading cause of teen deaths are fatal car crashes
- 86% of teens report using their cell phones while driving
- Speed (not alcohol) is the leading cause of teen accidents
- 1 in 5 16 year olds get in an accident their first year of driving
- Just 1 extra passenger in the car, increases their crash risk by 48%
Driving distracted is not a new thing. In fact, in the early 1900’s they almost did not put wind shield wipers in cars for fear it would hypnotize the drivers. Fast forward a thousand years, now we are fearful of being hypnotized (i.e. distracted) by the soft glow of our phones. Did you know there are 4 different types of driving distractions: manual, visual, auditory, and cognitive. Some distractions involved multiple types. See if you can calculate how many offenses you made while driving to one location today. Your results may alarm you!
The students thought I had misspoke when I asked them to pull out their cell phones. Then, I used one of my favorite tools, Poll Everywhere, to find out what distraction they were most likely to make while driving. Take a look at their results.
What about those cell phones?!? Well they aren’t the leading cause, but that doesn’t make them exempt. What could influence teens to give up cell phones while driving? According to one survey, their license taken away or an insurance discount! Money talks! If you know a teen that wants to develop a plan, be sure to check out the Toyota Teen Driver Video Challenge where they can submit a 2 minute video and possibly win $20,000! If you need a resource to encourage your teenager to put down that cell phone, be sure to check out AT&T’s The Last Text PSA campaign. (have tissue near by!)
Teachers, do you want to help students’ at your school become better drivers? Be sure to check out the Toyota Teen Driver’s Educators Challenge and submit your action plan to be eligible to win
- Grand Prize: A visit from Toyota Driving Expectations (TDE): a complimentary behind-the-wheel teen driving event that educates teens and parents about driving safety through interactive hands-on sessions and simulated defensive driving exercises.
- First Place: Virtual driving simulator to keep for your school so students can practice safe driving during the school day.
- $5,000 grant for the winning teacher to implement their action plan
**Toyota Teen Driver is a partnership between Toyota and Discovery Education to promote responsible driving for teens both at home and in the classroom. A comprehensive online destination, Toyota Teen Driver offers educators, students and parents a variety of powerful tools and materials designed to help teens avoid distractions and stay safe behind the wheel.