Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How To Keep Teen Drivers Alive

Worries About Teenagers? Here's Some Tips On Keeping Them Safe On The Road

LABELLE, FL. -- Most teenagers can hardly wait to start driving but most parents tend to have mixed feelings about their children getting behind the wheel of the family car. Getting teens to fully understand safety messages about driving can be a difficult challenge for parents. 

Most crashes involving teen drivers include one of the following factors:
- Distracted Driving – Which includes: Texting, Talking on cell phone, Eating
- Reckless Driving - Which includes: Speeding, Tailgating, Driving with teen passengers, Not using seatbelts
- Driver Inexperience and weather conditions
- Nighttime driving
- Impaired Driving – Don’t drive while under the influence of medication, alcohol or drugs.

Teen Driving Data
- Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, taking the lives of eight teens a day.
- In the last decade, over 68,000 teens have died in car crashes.
- Sixty-five percent of teen passenger deaths occur when another teenager is driving.

Some parents may feel relieved that they don’t have to always be the chauffer, but at the same time, parents worry about their teen’s safety. 

Driving safety experts say parents need to “practice what they preach”. Teens are more likely to wear a seatbelt, follow the rules of the road, and be a calm and courteous driver if they see their parents doing the same.

The best thing a parent can do is to start teaching children at a young age about safe driving and then once the teen has a permit, let them practice-practice-practice! Ultimately, the teen will have to make decisions about their driving habits, but it’s up to parents to be role models and enforce rules to encourage safe driving.

Teens need to remember that driving is a privilege, not a right, and not all teens are ready to drive even when the law says they can. Just because a teen has a permit, doesn’t mean they are ready for every driving condition.

Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website at http://www.nhtsa.gov/Teen-Drivers/ or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/Teen_Drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html

- submitted by Pat Dobbins, Administrator, Hendry-Glades, Florida Health Department.

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