Those Important First Steps In Teen Safety

Teaching your teen good driving skills is a conversation.

And conversations need to focus on using a seatbelt, avoiding distractions and never driving while impared.

So says former U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

“When parents model and reinforce safe driving habits, they equip their teens with the skills to safely navigate the roadways for life,” Foxx said. “Parents need to take the time to talk with their kids about behaviors that will keep them safe, and those that create greater risk.”

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 19-year olds in the United States. These statistics underscore the need for candid talk to teens about vehicle safety.

That discussion should focus on teens needing to be vigilant when roaming the roadways. Almost 2,700 teen (ages 15 to 19) passenger vehicle drivers were involved in fatal crashes and an estimated 123,000 teens were injured in 2014.

Congress started National Teen Driver Safety Week in 2007. In 2017, Teen Driver Safety Week runs October 15 to 21. Campaigns encourage conversations with teens about best safety practices.

National Teen Driver Safety Week shines a light on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “5 To Drive” campaign, a list of 5 steps teen drivers can take to improve their safety on the road.

The “5 To Drive” campaign, which began in 2013, focuses on using a seatbelt, avoiding distractions and the dangers of intoxicated driving.

The “5 to Drive” campaign is:

  1. No cell phone use or texting while driving. This age group has the highest percentage of drivers distracted by phone use.
  2. No extra passengers. NHTSA data shows that a teenage driver is 2.5 times more likely to engage in risky behaviors when driving with one teenage passenger and three times more likely with multiple teenage passengers.
  3. No speeding. Speeding was a factor in 42 percent of the crashes that killed 15- to 20-year-old drivers in 2013.
  4. No alcohol. The minimum legal drinking age across the country is 21. However, in 2013, among 15- to 20-year-old drivers killed in crashes, 29 percent had been drinking.
  5. No driving or riding without a seat belt. In 2013, 55 percent of all 15- to 20-year-old occupants of passenger vehicles killed in crashes were unrestrained.