How can you keep your teen driver safe and teach them about the greatest risks on the road?
Having a teen driver hit the road is one of the scariest experiences a parent can face. You raised your child well, taught them how to drive and are confident in their driving skills. However, “Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15 to 18 years old) in the United States – ahead of all other types of injury, disease or violence” (trafficsafetymarketing.gov). This week, October 21st through 27th, is National Teen Driver Safety Week. Take this time to educate your teenager of the greatest risks they take when they get behind the wheel, included conversations surrounding alcohol, seat belt usage, distracted driving and monitoring speed. National Teen Driver Safety Week aims to raise awareness and prevent teen injuries and death on the road.
National Teen Driver Safety Week – what you need to know
National Teen Driver Safety Week began in 2007 after several traffic crashes occurred involving high school students from PA. Here are some important statistics that you can review with your teenager before they hit the open road.
Seat belt usage
According to the CDC, “teens as both passengers and drivers, have the lowest rate of seat belt use of any age group” (teendriversource.org). Buckling up is one of the most effective ways to stay safe in a car, to reduce injuries and ultimately save lives. It is important, as a parent, to set a good example for your teen by always buckling up, and to insist that they do the same. Before you put your car into drive, everyone should be conditioned to secure their seat belt. The car doesn’t move until everyone is belted up.
Some seat belt facts & figures:
- Seat belts, when used properly, can reduce the risk of a fatal injury by 45% and a critical injury by 50% (teendriversource.org).
- Buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself. From 2004 to 2008, seat belts saved over 75,000 lives (buckleupillinois.org).
- In 2015, 6.1% of teens reported rarely or never wearing a seat belt, a 20% decrease since 1991 (teendriversource.org).
Being a distracted driver is so much more than texting and driving. As a teen, everything can act as a distraction. Snacks in the car, additional passengers, loud music and cell phones can all be dangerous, especially for young, inexperienced drivers who need to fully focus on the road. Distracted drivers are more than just a threat to themselves, they are a danger to everyone on or near the road. It is important to act as a good example for your teen by not answering the phone in the car, and limiting outside distractions.
Check out Julianne’s blog on distracted driving for additional ways to mitigate in-vehicle distractions.
There is no excuse for underage drinking. Your teen should never get behind the wheel after having a single drink or taking any drugs. According to the CDC, “high school students drive intoxicated approximately 2.4 million times every month. Underage drivers are 17% more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash with alcohol in their system” (scramsystems.com). More than 1/3 of fatal motor vehicle crashes among individuals between ages 16 and 20 involved alcohol.
However, there is some good news regarding underage drinking. Since 1991, the percentage of teens in high school who drink and drive has decreased by roughly 54% (cdc.gov).
Speed can kill
Speed kills. “Speeding increases the distance needed to be able to stop a car, while reducing reaction time to avoid a potential collision” (teendriversource.org). In fact, 21% of serious crashes where teen driver error was the cause, occurred from traveling too fast for the road conditions.
Retired Sergeant Hank Kula is a member of the L-Tron Law Enforcement support team. He believes that teens should understand speed as the distance they are traveling per second, versus in miles per hour. “Teach your teen that when they are going 70 miles per hour, they are traveling at 102 feet per second. This means that in 1 second they would travel more than the entire length of a basketball court!”
You can get involved with National Teen Driver Safety Week. Visit the Teen Driver Source website for additional links, media links and ways to show your support.
Questions? Interested in learning more about L-Tron & roadside safety?
Get in touch with the L-Tron team.