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 |  Aug 19 2010, 12:59 PM

You look at the survey headline: “86 Percent Of Teen Drivers Are Distracted.” Of course, you go right to the evils of the cell phone – talking, texting, sending and reading email – or using advanced in-car features. Results from a survey conducted by AAA and Seventeen magazine found that 86 percent of those polled drove distracted – but they consider adjusting the radio and eating in the car as distractions.

In its survey of 2,000 drivers ages 16-19, the two distractions that teens engaged in most were adjusting the radio (73 percent) and eating (61 percent).  Coming in third was talking on a cell phone ( 60 percent).

Cell phone use is also more common with the current generation of teens, and many studies have found that  using a cell is distracting whether you’re using a handset or hands-free device.

And texting isn’t lost in this survey – thought to be one of the riskiest behaviours to partake in behind the wheel. About 28 percent of respondents admitted to texting while driving. This number may not seem as high as the others, but it should be noted that this 28 percent averaged sending 23 texts a month.

[Source: Kicking Tires]

 |  Aug 08 2010, 4:40 PM

We all have that one commercial that makes us tear up. We may not admit it, but every time it comes on, we stop what we’re doing and reach for a tissue. A new Subaru commercial falls into this category, and if you’re a parent, it will tug on your heartstrings more than just a little bit.

The TV ad, called “Baby Driver,” features a father handing over the car keys to his daughter as she sets off to drive alone for the first time. If you’ve ever watched your son or daughter pull out of the driveway for their first solo ride, we bet this ad will make you choke up. (Interesting side note: the two girls who star in the ad are real-life sisters and the “dad” is the real-life father to both girls.)

The ad starts with a six-year-old girl behind the wheel of a Subaru Legacy, while her father gives her the “safety talk” through the passenger side window. When he passes her the keys, we see that it’s really been a 16-year-old about to take her first ride alone, even though her Dad still sees her as his “little girl.”

And in a situation where life imitates art, Andy Lyons, who plays the concerned father, is experiencing this moment in his own life. “As father to both the girls, portraying those complex emotions on-screen was not a stretch for me. Having my first daughter, Lanna reach driving age and knowing that my second, Georgie, will be there all too soon, I understand the anxiety of handing over the keys for the first time.”

This ad is meant to spotlight the inherent safety of Subaru vehicles and the time in a teen’s life when they are responsible enough to take the family vehicle out on the road, as it tries to authentically portray that big moment. “When we found this family we threw out the script,” said Kevin Mayer, director of marketing communications, Subaru of America, Inc. “We simply asked the dad, what would you tell your daughter before she pulled away? The dad took it from there and he was perfect.”

Watch the video after the jump, and feel free to well up (we promise not to tell).
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 |  Aug 03 2010, 3:49 PM

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For most teenagers, a list of cars most suitable for their age group would likely be made up of low slung Italian droptops or monstrous pickup trucks. But for all but a few lucky “My Super Sweet 16″ participants, the fact is that something more bland is in the cards for young drivers.

That’s not to say that Consumers Reports picks are boring. They may not be flashy, but cars like the Mazda3 and Acura TSX let you have some fun behind the wheel, and even the Honda Accord has a bit of agility while being practical enough to hold 5 adults and their stuff. Interestingly, Consumers Reports did include on truly fast car on their list of Best Cars for Seniors, the Subaru Forester XT. With a 2.5L turbocharged flat-four, the Forester XT will spirit grandma and grandpa to the early-bird special in no time. Perhaps teenagers are better off borrowing grandma and grandma’s ride rather than getting their own.

[Source: Consumers Reports]

Hit the jump to read the official press release

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 |  Jun 30 2010, 12:29 PM

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Just like the title says, the venerable magazine Consumers Reports has released its list of cars suitable for teen drivers, and absolutely none of them will make the budding enthusiast glow with delight.

Of course, Consumers Reports is primarly concerned with safety when it comes to cars for first time drivers, so their choices are swayed by features like Electronic Stability Control, curtain airbags and the like.  The choices are split between pedestrian fare like the Toyota Camry and Saturn Aura, and older luxury cars like the Acura RL or the BMW 3 and 5 Series. As the magazine astutely points out, older luxury cars will be a little nicer and come with a wide array of safety gear, but repairs will certainly be costly.

Hit the jump to see the full list of Consumers Reports’ Top 10 Cars For Teen Drivers

[Source: Consumers Reports]

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 |  Jun 10 2010, 9:45 PM

In New Jersey, you can see a teen driver coming your way, thanks to a new law that requires drivers younger than 21 to put a small red decal on their license plates.

But it’s not just the teens that are seeing red – it’s their parents as well. Many are concerned that it signals out minors to stalkers, and could lead to stalking at night or while teen girls try to get to their cars at parking lots.

The red decal comes into effect under Kyleigh’s Law, which is named after Kyleigh D’Alessio, a 16-year-old New Jersey girl killed in a 2006 car accident that also injured two others. New Jersey is the first state to attempt to make young drivers known to law enforcement by marking their vehicles.

The law has been in effect for over six weeks now, and fewer than half of the 250,000 young drivers covered by Kyleigh’s Law have bought the decals as of yet, which cost $4 for a pair. Teens caught without the decals face a $100 fine. And the decal may get shut down just as soon as it’s gotten started, as lawmakers have already introduced bills to repeal the new law.

Stats show that around 6,000 teens die in car accidents nationwide each year, and drivers are most accident prone in their first two years on the road. New Jersey instituted a Graduated Driver License program 10 years ago that carries a curfew and limits on the number and ages of passengers who can be in a provisional driver’s vehicle.

What do you think? Will the red decal do more harm then good in terms of a teen driver’s safety, or does it promise to save lives? Leave your comments below.

[Source: Autoweek]

 |  Jun 10 2010, 2:29 PM

driving-simulator

It’s easy to get distracted while you’re driving – especially if you’re a teen. Sometimes, the siren song of the cell phone can be too much to resist. In fact, recent studies state drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes at 16 percent. To combat this serious problem, Massachusetts’ Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation has introduced the Distractology 101 tour, which offers  young drivers an up-close and personal look at the dangerous and deadly effects of distracted driving.

Set to hit various locations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island over the next three years, Arbella will be touring in a 36-foot long neon yellow mobile trailer equipped with two driving simulators that will teach them how to stay focused and safe while on the road. Teens can get behind the wheel and see how they would do in a variety of real-world scenarios that take them through the dangers of distracted driving.

Arbella joined forces with labs from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to develop the program. At the end of the three years, about 10,000 novice drivers will have taken the simulator training, as well as an online curriculum and safe driving pledge.

The effects of distracted driving are similar to driving while drunk, as shown by multiple studies. Data from the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA) shows that almost 6,000 people were killed and more than a half million injured in 2008 as a result of distracted driving. Other studies have shown that the risk of crashing while texting is 23 times higher than driving while drunk.

After the jump, watch the video that demonstration how the program works. For more information about this program and tour stops, visit DistractU.com.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

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