Radio cited in study of teen driving distractions


Seventeen magazine, the American Automobile Association and the Department of Transportation have collaborated on a study which found that the vast majority of teen drivers admit to engaging in distractions while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Among them – adjusting a radio.

86% — almost nine in ten – admit to falling prey to distractions of one sort or another, and this is despite the fact that almost exactly as many – 84% — realize what the distractions are and understand that they may be dangerous.

73% have admitted to audio adjustments involving the radio, a CD player or an MP3 device; 61% have eaten while driving; and 60% have talked on a cell phone.

Although it did not provide a percentage, the study noted that text messaging was among the most dangerous of all driving distractions, and noted that those who do it at all tend to do it frequently, to the tune of 23 times per month.

“It’s great that so many teens are able to identify the bad driving habits that will put them and their friends in danger. But the bigger challenge we face now is to give them the tools they need to stop driving while distracted,” said Ann Shoket, editor in chief of Seventeen magazine. “It’s our responsibility to keep our 13 million readers out of harm’s way.”

RBR-TVBR observation: This study lumps radio in with CDs and iPods/MP3s, which we find to be very misleading. The latter two require at least a fleeting glance away from the road, not to mention often clumsy fumbling around. Radio, on the other hand, and as program directors from coast to coast and beyond know only too well, can easily be changed without looking thanks to pushbutton channel presets.