National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW), an annual public awareness campaign aimed at educating young drivers about road safety, is taking place October 16-22.

This year, Parachute and State Farm are calling on Canadian teens to help reduce distracted and drug impaired driving and #GetHomeSafe.

A new Parachute poll finds 39 per cent of young drivers admit they text behind the wheel and an alarming 71 per cent don’t consider using their phones while driving to be very distracting.

“It’s concerning that while many teens are still choosing to use their phones while driving when research shows that texting behind the wheel is the same as driving with your eyes closed for five seconds,” said Pamela Fuselli, Parachute Interim CEO. “We’re asking all teens to make a pledge to #GetHomeSafe and commit to safer driving practices.”

Educating teens about drug impaired driving is also a focus of this year’s National Teen Driver Safety Week. One in four teen drivers who died in a crash between 2000- 2010 tested positive for cannabis yet many young people don’t consider drugged driving high risk.

“It’s imperative that while driving you remain focused and attentive, avoid distractions and refrain from drugs and alcohol. This is for your own safety and that of passengers, other motorists and pedestrians,” explained John Bordignon, Media Relations State Farm Canada.

“We know various prescription drugs and marijuana impair judgment and reaction time. With legislation to legalize recreational marijuana use imminent safeguards need to be in place to discourage teenagers and drivers of all ages from getting behind the wheel while they are influenced by it. Road safety must be a clear priority.”

Click here to view the Parachute poll involving young Canadian drivers.