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Directions in Highway Safety, Spring 2007 Cover Page Download Newsletter pdf
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Summer 2007 | Vol. 10 | No. 2

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New Survey Reveals Risky Teen Driving Behavior

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AAA and Seventeen magazine have released a new survey showing that teens are engaging in very risky behavior, including sending and receiving text messages, while behind the wheel. The survey results are featured in Seventeen magazine's August issue.

Vehicle accidents are the number one killer of teenagers in America, claiming nearly 7,000 per year. According to NHTSA, driver distraction is a factor in up to 25-50 percent of all crashes. Despite these statistics, 61 percent of the more than 1,000 16 and 17-year old drivers surveyed admitted to risky driving habits. Of that group, 46 percent said they text message when driving, while 51 percent reported talking on cell phones.

Other behaviors teens reported were: driving with friends in the car (58 percent); exceeding the speed limit by 10 miles per hour or more (40 percent); and drinking or using other drugs before driving (11 percent).

Seventeen magazine editor-in-chief Ann Shoket hopes their readers will get the message that these behaviors can cause tragic results. "As the country's largest teen magazine, we want to educate teens about reckless behavior behind the wheel and help them understand the scary consequences."

In a joint press release about the survey, AAA and Seventeen underscored the importance that parents can play in promoting safe teen driving habits. Parents can be positive role models by exhibiting good driving skills and behavior. They can also talk to their teens about car crashes and how to prevent them, emphasizing the importance of minimizing distractions.