Teen drivingEnlarge Photo
That's one of the themes surrounding this year's Teen Driver Safety Week. The safety week was established by Congress in 2007 and held each October, to try to raise awareness surrounding teen-driving issues such as distraction and alcohol.
Distraction is the number one reason why new drivers crash, while car crashes are the number-one cause of deaths for adolescents, according to the TeenDriverSource info-site, from the Children's Hospital of Philadephia and State Farm.
There's certainly been plenty of coverage about distraction, and in particular texting, but don't forget about all the other dangers—like alcohol and seat belts. Alcohol is still a major danger for teens; in 2008, 28 percent of drivers age 16-20 who were fatally injured in crashes had blood-alcohol levels over the legal limit. Seat belt use is also, surprisingly, the lowest in the youngest driving group, and the majority of those killed in traffic accidents in this age group aren't buckled up.
Although methods like graduated licensing play a part in helping to ease teens into the responsibilities of driving, by first limiting the times or situations at which they may drive—or whether they're allowed to drive with their peers—parental
Schools are also encouraged to try a 'Ride Like A Friend. Drive Like You Car (RLAF)' campaign at school, to attempt to educate teens about the dangers of talking, texting, eating, or even listening to loud music while driving.
A new 'Park The Phone. Drive' campaign, below, emphasizes the need to minimize distractions and focus on driving.
Parental responsibility is of course one other important point; if you expect your kids to stay safe and abstain from talking and texting while driving, set a strong example and don't do it either.