SOURCE: Distracted Driving Safety Alliance

Distracted Driving, safe driving, technology mandates, legislation, regulation, DOT,

March 17, 2011 16:18 ET

Mobile Safety Survey: 85% of Teens Have Driven With a Distracted Driver

Teens Pledge to Stop Texting, Using Cellphones While Driving at Mobile Safety and Innovation Summit

PLEASANTVILLE, NY--(Marketwire - March 17, 2011) -  Teens yesterday gave adults some shocking news at the Wired Safety International Mobile Safety Summit on Innovation and Best Practices, held at Pace University's Pleasantville, NY campus. In an event-wide poll sponsored by the Distracted Driving Safety Alliance (DDSA), 85% of teens surveyed reported having ridden in a car with a parent or friend who was either texting or talking on a cellphone while driving.

"These numbers are sobering, but it shows that educating both new and veteran drivers is an important part of ending distracted driving," said DDSA Executive Director Kelli Emerick during the roundtable discussion. "Ensuring all drivers have a positive relationship with technology -- knowing when it's appropriate to use their mobile devices and when it's not -- is the key to keeping our roads safe."

The roundtable discussion, titled "Ending Distracted Driving," featured a diverse range of voices in the field of ending driving distractions. Emerick was joined by Zachary Ziebarth of Curb Distracted Driving, a national initiative aimed at young drivers focused on increasing awareness of the risk of distracted driving, Rebecca Paquette of Nuance Communications, and Dan Ross of Illume Software. Nuance Communications is a leading provider of voice recognition solutions used in helping end driver distractions, and Illume Software is the developer of IZUP, a mobile software package that allows drivers to hold incoming and outgoing communications while driving.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group -- 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. NHTSA also reports that 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving.

"It seems like an insurmountable problem but when confronted, teens not only understand the harm but they rose to the occasion to do something about it," Emerick said. During the summit, teens took the Curb Distracted Driving pledge, which was developed by Ziebarth. "Over the course of the month, the teens who took our pledge will work to eliminate one of their distracted habits each week, until they're fully distraction-free by the end of the month." Ziebarth continued, "We were very proud of the teens yesterday."

The Distracted Driving Safety Alliance is committed to working with stakeholders from all sectors -- industry, government, labor, advocacy groups and consumers -- to bring an end to distracted driving. Through education and the promotion of innovative technological solutions, the DDSA will engage and consult with federal and state governments, consumer organizations, and safety leaders on how to best prevent and end the distracted driving epidemic. 

For more information, contact Christianna Barnhart at (202) 263-2955
To learn more about the DDSA, go to

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