We really need radio to step up on this one


The American Automobile Association and Seventeen magazine have collaborated on a study which should give the chills to all Americans who either drive or ride in motorized vehicles. And although it isn't mentioned in the survey, a solution to this frightening problem may be found in compelling programming from local radio stations.

The problem involves teen drivers and cell phones. If you thought talking on the phone is a problem, you're right. 61% of all teen drivers admit to engaging in risky behaviour, and 51% of that group list talking on a cell phone as one of them. But that's not the half of it. 46% say they text message while driving. And we thought it was going to be bad when cell phones are routinely equipped with a television receiver.

SmartMedia observation: Radio stations targeting this demo can do two things here which will help put our minds at ease, at least a little. For starters, a healthy dose of PSAs reminding them not to attempt to type and drive, featuring the line "put the phone down – NOW" would be welcome in the extreme. But more important is the provision of compelling radio programming which encourages teen drivers to tune in, not dial out.