HSRC Directions
Fall 08
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HSRC completes awareness project surrounding teens and distracted driving

The UNC Highway Safety Research Center recently completed a peer-to-peer educational campaign for the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the NC Executive Committee for Highway Safety. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness to the issue of distracted driving among teenagers in the state.

The project encompassed a peer-to-peer approach, requiring the input of real teens across North Carolina on the topic of distracted driving. In order to gather this input, HSRC held two focus groups at Perquimans County High School in Hertford, NC and Myers Park High School in Charlotte, NC. Campaign elements included a video and radio public service announcements featuring footage of the teens sharing their experiences and giving their thoughts on the dangers of distracted driving.

Text messaging was overwhelmingly indicated by focus group participants as the biggest distraction to them, also citing friends, music, other people in the car and eating as additional distractions. As part of North Carolina's Graduated Driver Licensing program, use of a cell phone is prohibited for drivers under the age of 18. Use of a cell phone includes talking and texting.

Once the campaign elements were completed, the HSRC project team distributed campaign packets, which included three videos, the campaign brochure and a cover letter under the signature of Secretary Lyndo Tippett, to all North Carolina public high schools. Campaign materials were also provided to the North Carolina Chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions, the North Carolina Driver & Traffic Safety Education Association and the NC Governor's Highway Safety Program.

To access the campaign materials, please visit http://www.hsrc.unc.edu/safety_info/young_drivers/distraction.cfm.

The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center
730 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Suite 300  |  Campus Box 3430  |  Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430
Phone: 919.962.2203  |  Fax: 919.962.8710