Teen deaths spur St. Lawrence County Traffic Safety Program to send info packets to new drivers, parents
Friday, October 18, 2013 - 3:19 pm

With car crashes accounting for more teen deaths in the U.S. than any other cause, the St. Lawrence County Traffic Safety Program is working with the county officials to provide information packets for new drivers and parents.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens nationwide, according to the county traffic safety program.

To bring attention to what they are calling an epidemic and find solutions to lower teen drivers’ fatal crash risk, the county program has joined with the New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety to mark National Teen Driver Safety Week Oct. 20 to 26.

One of their goals is to drive home the importance of buckling up not only in the front seat, but the back seat too. Buckling up keeps teens from being thrown out of cars in a crash where they are 24 times more likely to die or suffer a severe injury.

In 2010, an average of 10 New Yorkers aged 16 and older who did not wear seatbelts while riding in the back seat were injured every day in car crashes. Research shows that during a head-on collision, an unbelted passenger involved in a sudden crash can move forward with the force of a young elephant, roughly 2,700 pounds.

The new information packets are given out when a teen applies for a driving permit. The packets contain background about teen driver risks and strategies that parents and teens can use to promote safety on the road.

They also include a new handout about graduated licensing, taking the five-hour pre-licensing course, and signing up for the road test.

The handout has links to the New York State Younger Driver web site.

The Traffic Safety Program also wants to remind parents and teens about the “critical errors” that the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and State Farm Insurance have found to be associated with 75 percent of teen driver collisions.

Young drivers often drive too fast for the road conditions, fail to scan the surroundings for potential hazards, and fail to recognize and avoid distractions. During practice driving sessions, parents should emphasize these factors to help their teens to avoid these mistakes

Those who want more information about teen driving in New York State can visit the DMV Younger Driver Web site at http://www.dmv.ny.gov/youngerdriver/, or contact the St. Lawrence County Traffic Safety program at 379-2306 or via e-mail at mdavison@stlawco.org.