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National Safety Month – Week 3: Teen Driving Safety

June 12, 2012

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group. In 2009, about 3,000 teens in the United States aged 15–19 were killed and more than 350,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor-vehicle crashes. The statistics are staggering:

  • The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among teens than among any other age group.  Additionally, if a teen is driving, the presence of other teen passengers increases the crash risk. This risk increases with the number of teen passengers.
  • Male teen drivers are at especially high risk for crashes. The motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 15 to 19 was almost two times that of their female counterparts.
  • Teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use. Male high school students were more likely than female students to rarely or never wear seat belts.
  • More than 30% of teens involved in a fatal accident were drinking at the time of their death. A 2007 survey showed that nearly three out of ten teens had ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.
  • Half of teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurred between 3  p.m. and midnight and 56% occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

How can deaths and injuries resulting from crashes involving teen drivers be prevented? One of the best ways is through parental involvement. The “Parents Are the Key to Safe Teen Drivers” program from the CDC has pamphlets and tools that can help. The CDC recommends four steps:

Proven Steps Save Lives: The more experience your teen has behind the wheel, the safer they’ll drive.  Make sure your new driver and their passengers always wear seat belts. Prohibit driving when crashes are more likely to occur—at night and when there are other teens in the car.

A Parent-Teen Driving Agreement Sets the Rules of the Road: Discuss your rules of the road with your teen. Talk about why they are important to follow, as well as the consequences for breaking them. Reinforce your talks by working with your teen to create a parent-teen driving agreement.

Parents Must Lead by Example: Don’t wait until your teen is old enough to drive to start modeling good driving behaviors. If you talk on the phone, text, speed or drive without your seat belt, so might your teen.

Other Parents Need This Information: Share your rules of the road with parents of other teens. Tell the parents of your teen’s friends about “Parents Are the Key,” because working together helps save lives.  Take the next step by showing your support and sharing information on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for helping to make the road safer for all of us.  And, thanks for following our blog.  To receive an automatic notification of our next post, just subscribe to the Avanti Reader via RSS or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


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