State Farm Insurance is hosting "Celebrate My Drive" events across the U.S. Saturday to encourage teens to speak up when they see friends driving distracted.
By Eric Stock
BLOOMINGTON - State Farm is hosting events in more than 300 cities across North America, including Gibson City and Peoria, to mark "Celebrate My Drive" on Saturday.
The effort aims to encourage young drivers to understand the dangers of distracted driving and to help them realize they aren't invincible when behind the wheel. The insurer has also released a video (see below) featuring American Idol winner Scotty McCreery detailing his first driving experience.
Chris Mullen, State Farm's Director of Technology Research, said young drivers understand that with their new-found freedom comes responsibility.
"This is your traditional rite of passage. We've heard from teens describe it as freedom. This is them being able to go where they want to go, when they want to go there," Mullen said.
State Farm released a national survey conducted in July which showed that more than one-third of teen drivers admit to texting while driving, even though 84 percent point out when others drivers and distracted behind the wheel.
The study showed nearly half of the teens who didn't speak up when they saw a distracted driver felt that the driver could handle the distraction.
Mullen said the survey shows young drivers also looking to their parents for safe-driving tips.
"This is very much in line with the approach we have launched in a supportive, positive environment," Mullen said.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports the crash rate per mile driven is twice as high for 16 year olds as it is for 18 and 19 year olds.
State Farm will join high school officials, law enforcement, safety advocates and government leaders in each "Celebrate My Drive" city. State Farm will be giving away prizes for new teen drivers.
Eric Stock can be reached at email@example.com.