urged to talk to teenage drivers
Adults should talk to teenage drivers about safe driving habits as much as possible, recommends the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD).
Regular dialogue is particularly important because teens are nearly three times as likely as all other drivers to be involved in a crash, according to 2006 statistics compiled by ITD's Office of Highway Operations and Safety.
Legislation recently passed by Congress designates the third week in October (Oct. 15-20) as National Teen Driver Safety Week. The designation is intended to spark dialogue among teenagers, parents and civic leaders about the causes and prevention of motor vehicle crashes, the leading cause of death for young drivers in the U.S.
Last year, 38 teenagers died on Idaho highways as a result of automobile crashes. Of those 38 fatalities, all but three were drivers. Seven of the 35 drivers who died were driving while impaired, despite being too young to drink alcohol. Teenagers are 2.9 times as likely as all other drivers to be involved in a crash.
Research by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia shows that a driver has only three seconds to scan for and identify the hazard, decide on a response, then act on that response. Cell phones, extra passengers, heightened emotions and fatigue cut into that response time and can distract even the most experienced and seasoned drivers. For young drivers, the consequences can be deadly.
In 2005, nearly 7,500 drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 were involved in fatal crashes throughout the U.S.
and teens need to make driving part of a daily conversation," said
Margaret Goertz, head of ITD's Youthful Driver program. "Parents
can learn the challenges faced by teenage drivers, and teens can learn
from the insight their parents have gained."
"Slowing down and buckling up for every trip, every time is the best advice, not only for teen drivers, but for all drivers and passengers," she said.