The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a new campaign aimed at parents of teen drivers. Called “5 to Drive,” the goal is to reduce the high number of teen driving-related deaths, which is the number-one killer of teenagers (ages 14 to 18) in the United States according to the NHTSA.
In 2011, there were 2,105 teen drivers involved in a fatal crash. Forty-five percent of the teens were killed in these accidents. The “5 to Drive” campaign provides parents with a checklist of five topics that should be discussed. Each one is designed to counteract behaviors behind the wheel that significantly contribute to the high rate of death in teen drivers.
The following is the ‘5 to Drive’ campaign checklist of topics:
- No using cell phone/texting while driving. Distracted driving is a serious risk factor for any driver. Of the teen drivers involved in a fatal crash, 12 percent were distracted at the time.
- No extra passengers. A study by NHTSA found that the risk of a teen driver engaging in dangerous behavior was 2.5 times higher with one passenger in the vehicle, and three times more likely with multiple teen passengers.
- No speeding. Speed was a factor in 35 percent of fatal crashes that involved a teenage driver.
- No alcohol. Although it is against the law, it is a fact that teens are drinking and driving. There were 505 deaths in which a driver between the ages of 14 and 18 had alcohol in his or her system.
- No driving/riding without a seatbelt. Over half of teen occupants killed in crashes were not wearing restraints in 2011. It was also found that when teen drivers didn’t wear a seatbelt, almost four-fifths of the passengers also failed to wear one.
While this program is aimed at teen drivers, all drivers should take note of these tips. Check out some of our other safety-related news pieces, including this one about parents and distracted driving.