National Teen Driver Safety Week focuses on safe driving habits

National Teen Driver Safety Week focuses on safe driving habits

Every year in October, parents, educators and teen drivers celebrate National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW). Now in its eighth year, NTDSW takes place from Oct. 19-25, 2014. Designated nationally by Congress, National Teen Driver Safety Week raises awareness of teen driving risks and examines and encourages safe driving habits.

The theme of NTDSW in 2014 is “Support Older Novice Drivers: Build Awareness of the Trend in Delayed Licensure.” Because many teens delay getting their license until they turn 18 or older (mainly due to economic factors), they don’t benefit from the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) requirements (for 16 and 17-year-olds). It can be a money-saving and safe decision for families, but certain precautions should be taken to keep their older teen drivers safe on the road. For more information about older novice drivers, head to Teendriversource.org.

In addition to focusing this year on older teen drivers, National Teen Driver Safety Week always promotes lifelong safety habits. Motor vehicles are still the No. 1 leading cause of death among 14-18-year-old teenagers. In fact, according to Traffic Safety Marketing, almost half of the teen drivers involved in a crash die. Yet, a recent survey show that only 25% of parents have had a serious talk with their kids about the key components of driving. You are the parent, they are your children, and they still have a lot of learn. National Teen Driver Safety Week is the perfect time to have that all-important talk about safe driving habits. It might just save your child’s life.

To keep teen drivers safe on the road 365 days a year, here are five rules of the road.

  1. No speeding
  2. Buckle up
  3. No alcohol or drugs
  4. No cell phone calls while driving
  5. No extra passengers

Key messages to discuss with inexperienced drivers during National Teen Driver Safety Week (from Safetylane.org):

  • Distractions are deadly for teen drivers. They are one of the key factors that lead to crashes, and car crashes are the leading killer of teens.
  • Peer passengers are a major factor in fatal teen crashes. Just one teen passenger doubles the risk a teen driver will get in a fatal crash. Having three or more peer passengers quadruples the risk. Few teens know about this risk. Only 1 in 10 teens consider the presence of peer passengers to influence their safety.
  • Teens can “ride like a friend” by wearing a seat belt, reducing distractions, respecting the driver, and helping the driver if asked. These safe passenger behaviors will help reduce crash risk and injuries and deaths if crashes do occur.
  • Teen passengers should not ride with novice drivers. Most teen passengers that die on the road were riding with teen drivers. Teens should not ride with their peers until they have been driving on their own for at least six months.

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