National Teen Driver Safety Week
October 20-26, 2013
In 2007 Congress designated the third week of October as National Teen Driver Safety Week. This year’s theme “It Takes Two: Shared Expectations for Teens and Parents for Driving.”
Given the prevalence of teen car crashes, this encourages parents, young drivers, lawmakers and educators to work together to change risky driving behaviors and help save lives. Having a dedicated week provides a unique opportunity to focus attention on this national problem. The week serves as a time to shine a spotlight on teen driver safety and ramp up conversations about teen driver safety.
Some Tragic Truths Auto crashes are among the leading cause of teen deaths in North America. Young drivers, ages 15- to 20-years old, are especially vulnerable to death and injury on our roadways. The impact of teens behind the wheel extends beyond those drivers. Mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.
We Know the Causes
Research shows which behaviors contribute to teen-related crashes. Inexperience and immaturity combined with speed, drinking and driving, not wearing seat belts, distracted driving (cell phone use, loud music, other teen passengers, etc.), drowsy driving, nighttime driving, and other drug use aggravate this problem.
National Highway Transportation Association site www.nhtsa.gov/Teen-Drivers has developed a multi-tiered strategy to prevent motor vehicle-related deaths and injuries among teen drivers:
- Increasing seat belt use
- Implementing graduated driver licensing
- Reducing teens’ access to alcohol
- Parental responsibility
Experts from Ford’s ‘Driving Skills for Life’ offer these tips on how teens (and their parents) can be safer drivers:
- Engage in the driving process – As teens get closer to earning/acquiring their learner’s permit, parents should actively engage with them about driving. Talk about safe driving behaviors, practice with them, seek educational opportunities, and be clear that unsafe actions won’t be tolerated.
- Buckle up – It’s the law. In a crash, a person not buckled up is much more likely to be injured or killed than someone wearing a safetybelt. Always buckle up and require all passengers to buckle up for everyone’s safety.
- Never speed – Research done for Ford’s ‘Driving Skills for Life’ shows that if parents speed, their teens are more likely to do the same. Speed-related factors continue to be reported in about one-third of all traffic deaths nationally.
- Don’t drive distracted – By setting a tough “no distractions” rule for teens, young drivers will keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
- Don’t follow too closely – Keep the proper distance from the car in front of you. Remember that the faster you drive, the longer it takes to stop. Doubling vehicle speed can nearly quadruple the distance required to stop.
- Limit the number of passengers – Graduated Driver License laws restrict the number passenger for novice drivers to help reduce the potential for distraction and focus on the driving task.
- Never drink and drive – Under-age use of alcohol and illicit drugs is illegal, and combining alcohol or drugs with driving can be deadly at any age.
Parents do you know the facts that can keep your teen safe on the road? Take the Safeco Teen Driver Safety Quiz here
Another resource for Teens, Parents and Educators is TeenDriverSource sponsored by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute