October 19-25 is National Teen Driver Safety Week! Parents are the biggest influence on teens’ safety behind the wheel, but according to a recent survey, only 25% of parents take the time to talk with their kids about the dangers of driving.
Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of 14-to-18-year-olds in the United States?
Join parents across the country in the “5 to Drive” campaign. The “5 to Drive” are five important rules that teen drivers need to follow. They address the worst dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, texting, seat belts, speeding, and extra passengers.
• Alcohol: Teen drivers are at a greater risk of death in alcohol-related crashes compared to drivers in all other age groups, even though they’re too young to legally buy or possess alcohol. Nationally in 2012, 28 percent of the young drivers (15 to 20 years old) who were killed in crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher.
• Seat belts: Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways for teens to stay safe in a vehicle. Whether it’s immaturity or a false perception that they’re invincible—teens aren’t buckling up. In 2012, of all the young (15- to 20-year-old) passenger vehicle drivers killed in crashes, more than half (55%) of those killed were unbuckled.
• Texting: Texting or dialing while driving is more than just risky—it’s deadly. In 2012, among drivers 15 to 19 years old who were distracted in fatal crashes, nearly 1 in 5 were distracted by phones. This age group had the highest percentage of drivers distracted by phone use.
• Speeding: In 2012, speeding was a factor in almost half (48%) of the crashes that killed 15- to 20-year-old drivers.
• Passengers: Teens may be very social, but the car isn’t the place to socialize. Extra passengers for a teen driver can lead to disastrous results. In fact, according to a recent survey by the Allstate Foundation, half of all teen drivers even admit that they are safer drivers without their friends as passengers.
So talk to your teens about the “5 to Drive” today: No drinking, No cell phones, No speeding, No extra passengers, and Always buckle up. Even if it seems like they’re tuning you out, keep telling them. These powerful messages will get through.
Consider creating a parent-teen contract that outlines the rules and consequences for your teen driver.
For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and the “5 to Drive” campaign, please visit www.safercar.gov/parents.