St. Lawrence County Traffic Safety Program encouraging teen driver safety
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 5:28 pm

The St. Lawrence County Traffic Safety Program is joining with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration during what they call “National Teen Driver Safety Week” (October 21-27) to “encourage all parents to talk to their teen drivers about the rules of the road,” the organizations said in a news release.

“Teens look up to their parents as they grow and become more independent, especially when it comes to the road,” Carrie Conger, traffic safety information specialist for St. Lawrence County, said in a prepared statement.

Motor vehicle crashes are still a leading cause of death for U.S. teens 15 to 19 years old. In 2016 2,082 teens were involved in a fatal motor vehicle crash. According to NHTSA research immaturity and inexperience are primary factors contributing to these deadly crashes; driving at nighttime, driving after drinking under the influence, and driving distracted by passengers and electronic devices,” SLCTSP said in a news release.

Parents can play a role in helping ensure their teen drivers take smart steps to stay safe on the road.

NHTSA’s website, www.safercar.gov/parents, has detailed information and statistics on teen driving and five basic rules parents can use to help save the lives of teen drivers:

1. Distracted Driving. Distractions while driving are more than just risky they can be deadly. 1 out of 3 teens admitted to texting while driving. Texting while driving can increase your chances of crashing by 23 times and just simply dialing the phone by 6 times. Remind your teen about the dangers of texting, dialing, or using mobile apps while driving, it only takes five seconds for a crash. Unfortunately distracted driving doesn’t just involve cell phone use. Other passengers, changing the radio, and eating/drinking are other examples of the dangerous distractions for teen drivers.

2. Seat belts save lives. As teens start driving and gaining independence, they don't always make the smartest decisions regarding their safety. Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways for teens to stay safe in a vehicle and it is required in all 50 States. Yet seatbelt use is the lowest amongst teenage drivers and passengers. In 2016 818 teen drivers and 569 teen passengers were involved in fatal vehicle crashes, as a result of not wearing their seatbelts. Remind your teen that it’s important for everyone to buckle up on every trip, every time, no matter what.

3. Drunk /drug driving. Teens put themselves and others in a serious amount of danger when they get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence. Underage drinking is illegal as well as driving under the influence of any impairing substance. In 2016 one in five teens were involved in fatal crashes that had been drinking. Remind your teen that driving under the influence of any impairing substance could have deadly consequences and is strictly enforced.

4. Passengers. Extra passengers in a teen’s car can lead to disastrous results. According to data analyzed by NHTSA, teen drivers were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in one or more potentially risky behaviors when driving with one teenage peer compared to when driving alone. And the likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behaviors triples when traveling with multiple passengers

5. Stop Speeding. Speeding is a critical issue for all drivers, especially teens. In 2016 32% of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding at the time of the crash. Remind your teen to drive within the speed limit.

6. Drowsy Driving. . Teens are busier than ever – studying, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, and schooling. However, with all of these activities, teens tend to compromise something very important: sleep. This habit can lead to drowsy driving. According to NHTSA In 2016, teen drivers (aged 15-18) accounted for almost one out of every 10 fatal drowsy driving crashes. Make sure your teen gets a good night’s sleep, and limit their nighttime driving. Remember too little sleep can also impact their performance in the classroom and during extracurricular activities.

For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and safe driving tips for your teens, people can contact Carrie Conger at [email protected], or by phone at 315-386-2207.