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Group wants teens to use peer pressure to help prevent distracted driving

(iStock Photo)

Young drivers make up 13 per cent of all licensed drivers in Canada

More than half of teens say they use their smartphone when driving, but 98 per cent of them know it's wrong

TORONTO (NEWS 1130) – Sometimes peer pressure can be a good thing. That’s the view of Parachute, a Toronto-based charity group that wants to reduce the number of distracted driving-related injuries and deaths.

Young drivers make up 13 per cent of all licensed drivers in Canada, but account for almost one in every four road-related injuries, according to the group.

Shaming campaigns and extra police enforcement have all been tried before, but now the group wants young people to use peer pressure to stop their loved ones from distracted driving.

“Parachute is asking teens to recognize they can lead their generation and be part of a movement to transform driving habits across Canada,” says Louise Logan with Parachute.

“We want teens to start talking about distracted driving and spark a positive change that ensure safer roads for everyone.”

More than half of teens reported using a smartphone behind the wheel at some point, even though 98 per cent agree that doing so is at least partially dangerous.

“Friends can change the behaviour of friends who place themselves in harm’s way,” says Allie Boelsterli, whose best friend died as a result of distracted driving when they were teenagers. “The vast majority of them are completely preventable.”

Nearly 80 per cent of young adults say they would speak up if they saw their friend driving distracted, according to a recent poll.

“We know that young people can have a strong influence on one another. National Teen Driver Safety Week highlights the dangers of distracted driving and hopes teens will watch out for their friends, speak up when they encounter a dangerous situation, make distracted driving socially unacceptable and become safer drivers and passengers,” says John Bordignon with insurance company State Farm Canada.

Next week is National Teen Driver Safety Week.