New Survey Shows Friends Are the Number One Influencer for Young Adults Not to Text and Drive

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Ad Council, NHTSA and State Attorneys General Hosting “Stop the Texts” Day on May 1 to Help Address this Epidemic

Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks. Print Infographic

Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks. Print Infographic

While teen drivers often feel invincible, the reality is that texting and driving too often leads to terrible injuries and even death,” said Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, president of NAAG.

Forty-four percent of young adult drivers (16 – 24), said friends were the most influential source to encourage them to curb their texting and driving habits followed by their parents (33 percent), according to a national survey conducted by the Ad Council. To help raise awareness on this issue and kick-off National Youth Traffic Safety Month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the State Attorneys General and Consumer Protection Agencies, and the Ad Council are hosting the first nationwide Stop the Texts Day on May 1, 2012. The goal of this day is to extend the message of their “Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks.” youth texting and driving prevention public service advertising campaign via social media in an effort to educate young drivers about the risks of texting while driving.

The survey also found that sixty percent of young adult drivers said they have texted while driving. The majority of respondents who reported that they have texted while driving said they will continue to do so even with the knowledge that texting while driving can seriously injure or kill others and/or themselves.

"While teen drivers often feel invincible, the reality is that texting and driving too often leads to terrible injuries and even death,” said Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, president of NAAG. “No text message is worth risking your life or the lives of others. Texting while driving should be even more socially unacceptable than driving without a seat belt.”

Most notably, the survey also asked young adults which legal or financial consequences would encourage them not to text while driving:

  •     Eighty-eight percent of texting drivers said a law against the behavior would encourage them to completely stop or be less likely to text while driving.
  •     The vast majority, ninety-six percent, of young adult drivers said large fines, a suspended license and/or jail time, higher insurance rates and other financial and legal consequences would encourage them not to text while driving.

“Our latest research shows that young adults play a critical role in setting a precedent among their friends that it is risky to text while driving,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “With the help of NHTSA and the States Attorneys General we hope to educate and empower more young adult drivers through social media to put their phones away while on our nation’s highways.”

On May 1, starting at 9:00 AM EDT, friends and parents of young adult drivers, and other safe driving advocates, are invited to share status updates from the campaign’s Facebook and Twitter pages throughout the day on why texting while driving is such a risky behavior. Additionally, supporters can write an open letter to young adults imploring them to not text while driving on the campaign’s blog platform on Tumblr. A complete toolkit for Stop the Texts Day is also available to provide additional ways the public can participate.

As part of this day, campaign representatives, including Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, are hosting a Twitter town hall on May 1, 2012 at 3:00 PM where supporters are invited to join online dialogue to discuss how to address this epidemic. Supporters can participate by asking questions they may have about this issue with the hashtag #StopTheTextsDay, in advance, or during the event, and then tune in to @StopTheTexts.

The online survey, commissioned by the Ad Council, was conducted in partnership with ORC International’s Online CARAVAN® Youth Omnibus. Research was conducted nationwide from April 3 to 6, 2012. The sample consisted of 862 teens and young adults between the ages of 16 and 24. All respondents were required to have a valid driver’s license, junior license or learner’s permit.

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For more than four decades, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has served as the key federal agency charged with improving safety on our nation’s roadways. As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, NHTSA is working to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries by promoting the use of safety belts and child safety seats; helping states and local communities address the threat of drunk drivers; regulating safety standards and investigating safety defects in motor vehicles; establishing and enforcing fuel economy standards; conducting research on driver behavior and traffic safety; and providing consumer information on issues ranging from child passenger safety to impaired driving. For more information visit

About The Advertising Council
The Ad Council ( is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies. The Ad Council addresses issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.

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