Youths rarely object to drivers texting

April 16, 2012 at 3:09 PM

WASHINGTON, April 16 (UPI) -- A survey says U.S. young adults are less likely than older people to speak up if the driver of a vehicle in which they're riding is text messaging.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Monday passengers ages 18-20 were the least likely to say something to a driver who is texting or talking on a cellphone while behind the wheel.

Since distracted drivers are often in the same age group, the DOT said it was initiating a public relations campaign to encourage passengers to remind their friends to keep their eyes and minds on the road.

"Distracted driving is an epidemic on our roadways, and these new findings show that our youngest drivers are particularly at risk," Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said in a written statement. "We are encouraging young people across America to … speak up if the driver in their car is distracted."

DOT surveyed 6,000 people and found 90 percent considered texting while driving unsafe. Only a third of respondents in the 18-20 age range said they would say something about it to the multitasking driver.

DOT said it was holding a contest for the public to design a distracted-driving logo that will be available for use on Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels. Displaying the logo on messages will act as a reminder to the recipients who happen to be behind the wheel they should be watching the road, not a smart phone.

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