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PennDOT Seeks Info on Drivers' Safety Habits

A federally mandated survey asks participants for information on seat belt usage, impaired driving, and related practices.

Do you sometimes neglect to wear your seat belt in the car? Do you text while driving? Is your foot a little heavy on the gas pedal when taking the back roads to work?

PennDOT would like you to "fess up." Anonymously.

A new driver survey launched by the agency is intended to help PennDOT "prioritize its highway safety efforts."

The 19-question survey asks participants about their recent seatbelt use, attention to speed limits, and other safe driving practices.

Motorcyclists are asked an additional four questions on topics such as helmet usage.

One question asks participants whether, in the last 60 days, they've driven a motor vehicle within two hours of consuming alcohol.

PennDOT spokesperson Erin Waters said survey takers should feel comfortable being honest about their answers, because information collected through the survey can't be linked back to specific individuals.

"It's anonymous," Waters said, noting that survey takers only provide PennDOT with their gender, zip code, an age range, and whether they hold a Pennsylvania driver license. 

"We're not collecting IP [i.e., Internet] addresses or anything like that," Waters said.

PennDOT said that more than 3,800 people responded to last year’s survey. Among the results of that survey: Nearly 80 percent of respondents said they had not driven within two hours of drinking, and 91 percent said they used a seatbelt all or "most" of the time.

The survey, which is required of each state by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, can be taken online at http://www.drivesafepa.org/HSP-Survey/.

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