Parents, teens, and teachers: October 16-22, 2016 is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and it offers a chance to to raise awareness of teen driver safety and encourage safe teen driver and passenger behavior. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for U.S. teens 15 to 19 years old. Promoting safe driving habits during this time period can help spread awareness of this alarming statistic and make a difference in teen driving habits.
GDL Institute is supporting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s “5 to Drive” campaign during National Teen Driver Safety Week. The campaign aims to help parents talk to their teen drivers about the rules of the road. The campaign highlights the five necessary rules that teen drivers need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel. These rules address the greatest dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, texting, seat belts, speeding, and extra passengers.
The “5 to Drive” campaign addresses the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers. It is a great way to help parents prepare, and help protect teen drivers. The idea behind the campaign is to give parents the words to use when they talk with their teens about the rules of the road. Let’s get the conversation going!
The NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” rules for parents to share with their teens are:
- No Drinking and Driving – All teens are too young to legally buy or possess alcohol, but they are still at risk. Nationally in 2014, one out of five teen passenger vehicle drivers (15 to 19 years old) involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. Driving under the influence of any impairing substance could have deadly consequences.
- Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back. – Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways to stay safe in a car. Yet, too many teens are not buckling up and neither are their passengers. In 2014, there were 763 passengers killed in passenger vehicles driven by teen drivers, and 59% of those passengers who died were NOT buckled up at the time of the fatal crash.
- Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel. All the Time. – Distractions while driving can be deadly. In 2014, among teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes, 10% were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. And remember, distracted driving isn’t limited to cell phone use. Other passengers, the radio and climate controls, and eating or drinking while driving, are all examples of dangerous distractions for teen drivers.
- Stop Speeding Before It Stops You – In 2014, almost one-third (30%) of teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding at the time of the crash. Staying within the speed limit helps keep everyone safe.
- No More Than One Passenger at a Time. – The risk of a fatal crash goes up with each additional passenger. According to data analyzed by NHTSA, teen drivers were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in one or more potentially risky behaviors when driving with one teenage peer compared to when driving alone. And the likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behaviors triples when traveling with multiple passengers.
Reach out to the teen driver in your life and remind them that while driving is a privilege, and while driving independence can great, it also comes with great responsibility. For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and the “5 to Drive” campaign, please visit www.safercar.gov/parents.