Category Archive: Safe Driving

Teen Drivers at a Serious Risk: Some Statistics

We all know that fatal accidents involving teenage drivers is becoming a problem, but do we know exactly how much of a problem? It’s easy to ignore statistics, especially when we don’t know each individual that became a part of that statistic.

When fatal accidents happen in our community, and when we start attending the funerals of teenagers that we went to school with, then we start to see the problem. We should not be waiting until someone we know is killed to pay attention to the risk we teenage drivers pose to ourselves.

We could be the next statistic if we don’t pay attention NOW.

Here are some startling statistics offered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA. Remember, each of these numbers could have been someone you know: a close friend, classmate, sister, or brother.

  • More than 68,000 teenagers have died in car accidents in the last ten years. Even scarier is that two thirds of those killed were teenage boys.
  • In America, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. It seems so senseless, considering that a fatal accident is more easily prevented than cancer, suicide, murder, and other ways we teenagers can die.
  • The fatality rate for teenage drivers is about four times higher than the rate for drivers that are 25 years and older. This is the reason it is clearly a matter of experience when it comes to the problem of fatal teenage accidents. Inexperienced drivers are at a higher risk.
  • In 2001, almost 7,600 teenagers were involved in a fatal crash, 5,300 of those were killed, and two thirds of those killed were not wearing their seatbelt. If it’s not the law in your state to wear a safety belt, do it anyway!
  • Finally, a staggering 65% of teenage passengers killed in car crashes, died while another teenager was driving.

One thing is clear: if you are a teenage driver, you are at a high risk of killing yourself, or someone you know, each time you get behind the wheel. Take the time to learn your vehicle, the rules of the road, and avoid carrying passengers until you can be sure you and your friends won’t become one of the statistics listed above.

Teen driver

Car Accident Kills Teen

Jeffrey Lee, 15, of Pleasant Grove, Alabama, died September 24 when he was pinned under a relative’s car. Lee apparently put the car in gear, jumped out and was then run over.

Safe Driving Lesson Learned

Getting ready to drive is as much a part of motor vehicle safety as actually driving. From the time you enter your vehicle, you are dealing with a potentially deadly machine. Caution must be exercised around the vehicle at all times. Never exit the vehicle without putting it in the proper gear, turning off the ignition, and, if necessary, setting the parking brake.

Before you start your engine:

  • Make sure all windows are clean. Remove anything that blocks your view of the road.
  • Adjust the seat so you can reach all controls.
  • Adjust the inside and outside rearview mirrors. You should not have to lean forward or backward to use them.
  • Lock all car doors.
  • Put on your safety belts. Ask all passengers to do the same.
  • Make sure your car is in park or neutral gear before starting the engine.

Never move your car until you have looked in front, behind and to the side for pedestrians and oncoming traffic. Then, signal and pull into traffic when safe.

Good drivers develop habits that focus their full attention on driving. Some drivers can develop bad habits that can be very dangerous when driving. Some bad habits that distract your attention away from driving are:

Good driving is based on practice and being alert at the wheel from the time you enter the vehicle until you exit.

This post is an excerpt from a recent edition of the Safe Driving Teen Monthly Bulletin. Each month the National Safety Commission publishes the bulletin for teens and parents designed to improve teen driver behavior, attitude, skills, and experience. Subscription Details

Parental control

Exercising Parental Control Can Lead to Fewer Teen Driving Crashes

Sometimes it can be tough being a teenager. You have all these expectations heaped on you – get good grades, be responsible, mind your parents… But what if your parents are not exercising any control over your behavior? Results from the latest Teens Today study show that driving accidents are way down in the teenage category as compared to twenty-five years ago. That sounds great on the surface but the reality of it is that those teenagers who are causing the crashes are not being governed adequately by their parents.

These crash-causing teens are practicing reckless behavior like driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs. Others are being just plain careless by not practicing safe driving conduct. Ask any teenager who drives and acts responsibly why they have not been in an accident. The answer is their parents impose consequences for their negative actions and behavior. It is as simple as that! They screw up whether it is a scratch on the bumper or a speeding ticket and chances are that the parents will take their car keys away for a period of time. What better way for us to learn than by cutting off our source of independence!

We all grumble about our parents from time to time. But let’s face it – some of them just aren’t as involved in our lives as they should be. We all have heard that old saying about kids wanting discipline. Well, in this case, while teenagers may not say they want it, they need it to stay on the straight and narrow. Parents – we should not have to learn the hard way about drinking and driving or bad driving practices like sending text messages or eating while driving.

Teenagers should be learning by the example their parents set. What’s even worse about this whole thing is that sometimes, parents are in the car when their kids are displaying that bad behavior like speeding, talking on the cell phone or fiddling with the CD player. The parents should make their kid pull over because they were not practicing safe driving behavior. Instead, many of them just let it go, teaching those teenagers that it is ok to continue those destructive behaviors.

Come on bad teenage drivers! You are giving the rest of us a bad name. Clean up your act and treat driving a car like the privilege that it is. And that is exactly what driving should be to a teenager – a privilege. Listen up parents! Be the grownup and take away the car keys if you have to … it is definitely better to have a mad teenager than a dead one.

Parents and Teens Both Get into the Safe Driving Groove

It is every teen’s dream to get that learner’s permit in their hand. After all, driving equates to freedom, doesn’t it? But let’s face it teenagers, we don’t know everything there is to know about driving a car. Did you know that car crashes are the leading cause of death in our age bracket? That’s a pretty scary thought!

The recent article in the Cincinnati Post about teen drivers is sort of eye-opening. Sure, we know to buckle our seat belts and make sure to use our turn signals and such. But who is going to really teach us about what to do if our brakes lock or how to get out of a dangerous skid? That is not exactly something our parents could or know how to teach us.

Yeah, they preach to us about safety on the road and tell us in theory how to get out of a dangerous driving situation, but until we actually experience it, all that talk is in one ear and out the other right? We humor the parents and we lead ourselves into a false sense of security. We think that those crashes will never happen to us. But the reality of it all is that we COULD be that next crash just waiting to happen.

Car manufacturer Toyota came up with a great driving awareness program called “Toyota Driving Expectations.” The catch is that we teenagers have to take the class with our parents! Now before all the grumbling starts, this class is quite an eye-opener for both us and the “adults.” They get put through their paces just as much as we do.

Each of us gets to experience our own driving courses; parents have different distractions thrown at them like ringing cell phones and fiddling with the radio, things we all do every day. Teenagers get to learn some defensive maneuvers and how to avoid crashes. Believe it or not, it’s interesting and fun to experience this stuff with your parents. We all learn something and have a better respect for each other’s driving abilities. And guess what? Parents will feel a little more secure and willing to let you drive!

Be sure to talk with them about the “Toyota Driving Expectations” program and visit the website at Toyota Teen Drive 365 to see if there is a class near you.

According to new scientific studies, the area of the brain that controls impulsive behavior doesn’t reach maturity until the age of 25. This has caused many people to reconsider the age that teens should be allowed to drive. Currently, many states allow teens as young as 16 the right to drive. However, statistics have proved that 16 year olds are dangerous drivers, have the highest auto related death rates, and more teens die while riding in vehicles driven by 16 year olds. What is interesting is that even though many parents and politicians feel that 16 is too young to drive, there is a certain degree of hesitancy when it comes to changing existing laws.

Some people look to the fact that many parents are tired of chaperoning their teens and look forward to the day when they can manage some of the responsibility of transportation themselves. But, ask any parent who has lost a child in a teen related auto crash, and they will quickly tell you that they would gladly chauffer their teen if it meant having their child back in their lives again.

Nearly all states have implemented changes that affect the way teens drive. Some of these changes include limiting the amount of passengers teens may have in the vehicle or decreasing the amount of time teens can drive alone. Nevertheless, though these rules have been put in place to help keep teens safe, they are frequently not enforced.

There is often a misconception behind the reasons why teens are involved in so many fatal crashes. The fatal crashes are often mistakenly blamed on alcohol or drugs. However, as current studies have shown, it is a matter of brain maturity, and not excessive teen drinking that contributes to the high rate of deaths associated with teen drivers.

When people put pressure on politicians to raise the drinking age, changes were made that ensured the drinking age would be 21. This has been a positive change that has undoubtedly saved many lives. Unfortunately, it seems that it may take more fatal crashes before politicians realize that the best way to protect teens from the dangers of driving is to similarly raise the driving age.

Read more driver education news in the Safe Driving Teen Monthly Bulletin. Each month the National Safety Commission publishes the bulletin for teens and parents designed to improve teen driver behavior, attitude, skills, and experience. Subscription Details

Keep Teens Driving on the Straight and Narrow

Having clear-cut rules about the family car and/or driving privileges in general seems like a smart plan for teenagers. After all, most of our parents just tell us to be careful and then impose restrictions after the fact for some indiscretion. Having to guess what the family rules are sometimes can be compared to a weather report – partly cloudy.

There is this recent news story about parents setting rules before we get into the car. Well, of course, we would love to be free to do what we want, but at least if we knew the rules in advance, we could not grumble about not knowing that we did something wrong! And parents – be consistent with us teenagers ok? We’re confused enough as it is without the parental unit changing their minds.

Some parents really think about our driving and come up with a lot of do’s and don’ts for us while others sort of make it up as they go along. Parents take the advice of this teenager – we will push every limit possible when it comes to our driving privileges so you better really, really think about the rules you want to set!

Here are some of the most common rules that we teenagers are familiar with: obeying speed limits, not having more passengers in the car than allowed, and no drinking. However, there are a few things that we are going to do unless you tell us or catch us doing them. We are likely going to use our cell phones and drive at the same time. The same goes for eating or drinking a soda. We have also been known to change the radio station with one hand or text message a friend behind the wheel of a car. Many times, parents do not think of these things and these are what can get us in trouble.

Now other teenagers are probably yelling at me for telling all our secrets, but come on! Why get in trouble for those same things later when we can avoid doing them now. Besides, no matter how much the parental unit may rain on our parades, they mean well and only want the best for us. Add the fatality record of teenager drivers and the parents can definitely back up their case. Why don’t we give them a break for a change and actually follow the rules – well, these rules anyway.

This post is an excerpt from a recent edition of the Safe Driving Teen Monthly Bulletin. Each month the National Safety Commission publishes the bulletin for teens and parents designed to improve teen driver behavior, attitude, skills, and experience. Subscription Details