CONTACT: JEFF CHIERO
Bourbonnais, IL– A large number of teens will be driving themselves back to school this year, and many will have friends in the car with them, a recent survey commissioned by Ford shows. That puts them at greater risk of being distracted and possibly crashing.
Among driving-age students surveyed by polling firm Penn Schoen Berland, 56 percent plan to drive themselves to school. More than one third – 36 percent – will have two or more passengers; only 27 percent will drive alone. Studies have shown passengers can be a significant distraction for inexperienced teen drivers.
“As students go back to school, we want to help make the drive safer,” said Jeff Chiero. “The importance of safety belt use and understanding the risk of distraction are examples of topics parents should be emphasizing with their teen drivers.”
More survey results
• More than half of teens surveyed said they become distracted by others in the car, including 56 percent of boys and 63 percent of girls. Talking on a hand-held cell phone, texting, grooming, eating, drinking, using GPS, even manually adjusting the radio or MP3 player can be distracting. Teens also tend to look away from the road and become distracted for longer periods than more experienced drivers
• Forty percent of teens surveyed admit to speeding “sometimes, often or always.” Sixty percent view the speed limit as the “target” speed, not the maximum speed. Collision risk, its severity and force all increase with speed, which also reduces the amount of time a driver has to react to a hazard. For teen drivers, especially males, many severe collisions occur at high speeds
• While 93 percent of the teens surveyed said they never drink and drive, 82 percent are concerned about drinking and driving to and from school dances. Sixty-three percent said they will or may attend a school dance this year; of those, half plan to ride with friends. Alcohol is a significant contributor to crashes, including those involving teen drivers. Drinking any amount of alcohol can impair a driver
• Of the teens surveyed, 78 percent said they always wear a safety belt while driving. Wearing a safety belt is the most effective protection in a crash, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation
Back to school driving tips from Ford
• Most states limit the number of passengers new drivers can have in a vehicle. But even drivers who are allowed to carry passengers should focus on driving and keep their eyes on the road when talking. Remember, seemingly simple tasks can be distracting
• Parents can set a good example by putting down the phone when driving, making only necessary calls using hands-free technology or after safely pulling over
• Always buckle up and require all passengers to buckle up for everyone’s safety
• Remember that the faster you drive, the longer it takes to stop. Doubling vehicle speed can nearly quadruple the distance required to stop
• Don’t drink or use drugs, especially behind the wheel. Under-age use of alcohol and illicit drugs is illegal, and combining alcohol or drugs with driving can be deadly at any age
Ford and teen drivers
Parents who have a Ford vehicle equipped with MyKey® technology can encourage teenagers to wear their safety belts, keep the radio volume down, watch their speed and pay attention to the road – not their cell phones – simply by programming the teen’s key. It’s an exclusive technology that is available on more than 6 million Ford and Lincoln vehicles.
Ford also is lead sponsor of Parent’s Supervised Driving Program, a multi-state effort to help teens earn their graduated driver’s license. The program is geared toward skill development and expanding the conditions and time teens drive with their parents prior to driving independently.
Parents can learn more about Driving Skills for Life at drivingskillsforlife.com and about Parent’s Supervised Driving Program at http://www.theparentssuperviseddrivingprogram.com/. Information about MyKey technology is available at http://www.ford.com/.
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 177,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.