Federal agency launches safety campaign aimed at teen drivers

Oct 21, 2014 - Articles - by Dodson & Hooks, APLC

National Teen Driver Safety Week was October 20-26, 2013. In conjunction with National Teen Driver Safety Week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an ongoing safety campaign called “5 to Drive,” calling attention to the five most common safety issues surrounding teens’ driving habits. The NHTSA’s safety initiative comes in response to rising auto accident fatalities among teen drivers

Safety concerns about teen drivers

The NHTSA’s campaign encourages parents to discuss safe driving habits with their teenage drivers in an effort to prevent auto accidents. The safety campaign offers parents a checklist of the five most critical safety concerns for teen drivers to guide the conversations, including:

  • Not making phone calls or sending text messages while driving.
  • Not carrying extra passengers.
  • Not speeding.
  • Not drinking before driving.
  • Always wearing a safety belt when travelling in a motor vehicle, either as a driver or passenger.

Safety officials believe that parents have a strong influence on how their teens drive. If parents make safety a priority and take the time to discuss safe driving habits with their teens, then teen drivers will make better decisions behind the wheel.

Teen driver auto accident fatality rates alarming

The NHTSA hopes that its 5 to Drive initiative will reverse the disturbing trend in teen auto accident fatality rates. NHTSA data shows that auto accidents are the leading cause of death among those aged 14 to 18 years old. In 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, 2,105 fatal accidents involved teen drivers. Fifty-five percent, or 1,163, of the teen drivers in those accidents survived and 942, or 45 percent, died.

Safety officials note that teen drivers have less experience than adult drivers, and this inexperience often contributes to auto accidents, along with the areas of safety concerns the NHTSA identified in 5 to Drive: speeding, drinking, cell phone use, lack of seat belt use and having other teen passengers in the vehicle.

NHTSA data shows that speed was a contributing factor in 35 percent of the fatal auto accidents involving teens in 2011. Alcohol was a factor in 505 of teen deaths from auto accidents in 2011. Distracted driving contributed to 12 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents involving teens in 2011. More than half of the teenage passengers in motor vehicles involved in fatal accidents that year were not wearing seat belts.

Speak with an attorney

Teen drivers do not always make the best choices when driving. In some cases, their poor choices can cause auto accidents. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver, talk to a skilled car accident attorney who can help you recover for your losses.

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