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Directions in Highway Safety Cover - Spring 2011 Download Newsletter pdf
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Spring 2011 | Vol. 13 | No. 1

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Consumer Reports Takes On Distracted Driving

Consumer Reports (CR) is tackling the issue of distracted driving. A new Consumer Reports National Research Center survey reveals the alarming prevalence of distracted driving behavior, particularly among younger drivers. CR is also partnering with the U.S. DOT to distribute a free guide for parents and teachers to help prevent teens from driving distracted.

The CR poll shows that not only are younger drivers more likely to use handheld devices while driving, they also are less likely to recognize the danger inherent in this behavior. The nationally representative survey was conducted in November 2010 and had 1026 respondents.

Among all respondents under 30 years old, 63 percent reported using a handheld phone while driving within the past 30 days. Just 41 percent of those 30 or older admitted to the same behavior. Likewise, 30 percent of the younger group said they had texted while driving, compared with 9 percent of the older group.

The under-30 respondents were not particularly worried about the issue of distracted driving. Thirty-six percent said they were “very concerned,” and less than one-third thought using a handheld phone while driving was very dangerous.

Distracted Driving Shatters Lives pamphlet cover

In more heartening news, 78 percent of all respondents said they had reduced or stopped behaviors related to distracted driving, and 66 percent of those did so because of reading or hearing about the dangers.

In addition, Consumer Reports has worked with the U.S. Department of Transportation to create a free guide for parents and educators called “Distracted Driving Shatters Lives.” The guide, available at and at serves as an action plan to help raise awareness and save young lives. It recommends six steps for parents and teachers: set a good example; sign a pledge; talk to your teen; educate yourself; establish ground rules: and spread the word.

The National School Safety Coalition is sending copies of the guide to schools and volunteer groups. In addition, Consumer Reports and the DOT have sent a public service announcement to TV stations nationwide. And in April, retails stores across the country will air a Consumer Reports video highlighting the guide that is expected to reach up to 100 million viewers.