All teens talk on their cell phones while driving, all the time.
This major misconception was recently shattered by the 9-out-of-10 campaign, a study developed by the UNC Highway Safety Research Center, which proved that nine times out of ten, teen drivers across North Carolina do not use their cell phones while driving. The UNC Highway Safety Research Center conducted the research between 2006 and 2008, and over the course of the study 19,782 teens were observed.
Arthur Goodwin, Senior Research Associate for the UNC Highway Safety Research Center said, “We originally began the study in 2006 to examine the effect of North Carolina’s cell phone restriction for young drivers. Although there wasn’t much change in cell phone use after the law, what really struck us was just how few teens were talking or texting in the first place.”
Instead of focusing on whether or not the phone was ever used, the study measured how much overall time young drivers used their phone.
Goodwin also said, “It’s true that many teenagers use their phone at least sometimes while driving, but the results of the study show that most teens who talk or text while driving don’t do it all that often.”
A random poll of ten Leesville students revealed identical results to the original campaign, with one student admitting to texting while driving, and the remaining nine reporting abstinence from phone use.
Morgan Burke, junior, said, “I never text when I drive. But if I get a call from my parents, or about school work I usually answer, never for a long time though.”
The study focuses on eliminating the stereotype that all teenagers are reckless and irresponsible drivers, constantly reiterating the fact that 91% of the time teens are off the phone while driving.
Brittney Glover, senior, said, “I hate that stereotype. I think it’s a crude generalization of the youth—with no basis on fact!”
Although many student drivers are upset with the media’s perception of their generation, many adults are just concerned with their child’s safety.
Mrs. Amerson, a freshman English teacher at Leesville, said, “As a mother of two daughters, I tell my kids never to use their phones while driving.”
To spread the word about 9-out-of-10, the UNC Highway Safety Research Center developed a contest, in which 13 schools across Wake County competed to acquire the greatest number of fans on the 9-out-of-10 Facebook page by September 30. Leesville High School finished fourth with 887 total fans, while Millbrook High School, won with 1552 fans, and received a $500 donation for their school.
A second Facebook fan page contest ranges until December 15, whereupon the winning school will collect another $500 donation.
Winning money for one’s school is certainly satisfying, but most students would find even greater satisfaction in earning money for themselves. During October, student drivers will receive decals with the 9-out-of-10 logo to place on their cars, which when spotted will earn the individual $10. Perhaps the most enticing upcoming event though, is the poster design contest, with an iPod Touch for the grand prize.
Clara Hicks, senior, said, “I think that offering individual prizes will motivate a lot more students to participate. I mean, if they’re just handing out money, why not?”