An annual study released yesterday by Plymouth Rock Assurance in conjunction with Distracted Driving Awareness Month shows the highest percentage of New Jersey drivers surveyed in the poll’s three-year history admitting to texting while driving.
“There was a time when drunken driving did not have the stigma that it has today. There was a time when not wearing your seatbelt was acceptable,” said Gerry Wilson, president and chief executive officer of Plymouth Rock Management Company of New Jersey. “While we are pleased to see that New Jersey drivers are aware of the safety concerns, now it is time to transform awareness into a behavioral shift that will eliminate these actions from our roads.”
One promising finding from the study was that the percentage of respondents who texted while parked in a safe location doubled between the inaugural poll in 2013 and today.
As part of an initiative to encourage New Jersey drivers to make responsible choices, Plymouth Rock is introducing the #SaveYourSelfie campaign. Every month for the remainder of 2015 the company will give away $100 to one driver who uses the hashtag to demonstrate that they made the decision to park in a safe, designated parking location to text or use a mobile device. Drivers can win by taking a selfie in front of their safely parked car and sharing it using #SaveYourSelfie on Twitter or Instagram.
“Last spring more than 32,000 drivers rallied to pledge their commitment to safe driving and help Plymouth Rock set a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the Most Pledges to a Safety Campaign,” Wilson said. “This year, we hope New Jersey drivers will join us to #SaveYourSelfie.”
According to findings from the study:
- A rising percentage of respondents admit to texting while driving — 33 percent in 2015 compared with 26 percent in 2014. Similarly, 28 percent of respondents cited that as a passenger, they have witnessed the driver of their vehicle texting, compared with 20 percent in 2014.
- 82 percent of respondents say texting while driving is their top safety concern for New Jersey roads, ranking nearly twice as high as drunken driving (42 percent).
- Awareness of the dangers of texting while driving has increased: 92 percent of 2015 study respondents acknowledged that texting while driving is illegal, compared with 87 percent in 2013.
- The percentage of respondents who text while parked in a safe location was 56 percent in 2015, compared with 28 percent in 2013.
Source: Plymouth Rock Assurance
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