These Tips Could Save Your Teen Driver’s Life

I found this article today at http://shermanoaks.patch.com and wanted to share it with by blog readers. It is a very great and powerful article about teen drivers!

Traffic accidents are the major cause of teen deaths. Parents who serve as good role models for a young driver can help prevent a tragedy.

For first responders, it’s a scene that has become all too commonplace. One moment an entire family is driving home from a local outing and just blocks from their residence. In the next moment, they’re involved in a horrific traffic accident that either completely or nearly kills the entire family.

After firefighters work feverishly, using the Jaws of Life to pry apart steel wrapped around steel, to get to the injured parties, they often find out that the accident involved a teenage driver. And many of those teen drivers become fatalities as well.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009 there was a total of 3,081 fatal traffic accidents (these are the latest stats) on California’s highways. Of those, 351 involved drivers between the ages of 16 and 20. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers and young drivers in this age bracket across the nation, and the causes are many, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles:

* Unsafe speed: 35 percent.

* Not yielding the right of way: 20 percent.

* Improper turns: 15 percent.

* Alcohol-related: 5 percent.

An ever increasing statistical bracket is distracted drivers (texting, cell-phone usage, other teens in the car).

In a huge proportion of cases, these fatalities are preventable because they involve unnecessary risk taking, not wearing seat belts and lack of skill. The risk of accidents is three times higher when driving at night and 3.6 times higher when other passengers are in the car.

Although overall statistics for teen-related traffic deaths are down, many of the habits that our teen drivers learn begin at home. As parents, we have more influence than we sometimes know. So these tips, accompanied by some strong parenting, can help make your teen’s driving experience a little safer:

1) Never expect that your teen driver is going to learn everything from driver’s training courses. They need practice, and lots of it! Schedule times for them to drive, first in unpopulated areas, and then when you’re comfortable, heavier traffic areas.

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2) The fruit never falls far from the tree. If you drive like an idiot, then what do you expect from your teen? They need a strong role model who can explain, not only how, but why you do the things you do. Use a lot of teachable moments.

3) Always insist on using seat belts at all times! This is something that should be taught to them almost from birth. Remember, “Click It or Ticket.”

4) Limit nighttime driving and additional passengers in the car. You know when your teen driver is ready to take on more responsibility. There’s no rush to drive at night.

5) “Take this phone and shove it!” Need I say more? Put them in the trunk, keep them in the back seat, and remove any temptation to text or talk on the phone. And you can’t keep constantly calling them to ask their whereabouts if this tip is going to work.

6) Drinking and driving is a no-brainer. It’s unacceptable and should be subject to severe consequences if the law doesn’t have its way with your teen first

Cell Phone Use While Driving……

is pervasive, according to reports from teen respondents of the National Young Driver Survey.

1. 80% of teen drivers own a cell phone.

2. Nine out of 10 have witnessed teen drivers talking on a cell phone; seven out of 10 sometimes see emotionally upset teens drive while talking on a cell phone.

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3. 53% have seen teens use another kind of handheld device (text messaging, MP3 player, or game) while driving.

4. 48% reported talking on the phone while driving.

Summer is a Dangerous Time for Teen Drivers

This coming weekend will mark the beginning of summer for many schoolchildren. It also is the start of the most dangerous time of year for young people on the nation’s roads.

States have done just about everything they can to try to improve the traffic safety record among teens; Now it’s up to teens and their families and friends to do even more.

The statistics don’t lie. Drivers age 16 to 20 account for more highway deaths than any other 5-year age group, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, and the death rate is worst during the summer months — when teens are driving and playing more than during school.

The problem is compounded by the fact that teen drivers and their passengers also are the least likely to use seat belts.

And it doesn’t help that the inexperienced drivers in this age group also are most likely to be distracted — by friends and by cell phones, especially.

Most states require that a 15-year-old who has completed basic driver’s education requirements must then spend 50 hours over the next six months driving with a parent or guardian, 10 of those hours at night.

During this superviser learning program parents can improve their teens new driving experience by identifying the vehicle the teen is driving with a “Rookie Driver” or a “New Driver” magnet. Simple to use, just place the magnet on the car when the teen is driving (along with the parent) and take the magnets off when the parents are driving.

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With successful completion of that six-month period, young drivers can receive restricted licenses.

As this summer gets into full swing, now is a good time for parents to sit their teenagers down for an important talk about safety and the rules that should accompany the privilege — and it is a privilege, not a right — of newfound four-wheeled freedom.

Youth and Driving Don’t Always Mix Safely

Teen drivers are more likely than adults to crash their car, due to their youth and inexperience — but don’t try telling them that.

Studies have found that teens have an overblown sense of their driving prowess, one that can and does put them in the middle of some truly terrible crashes. They also don’t understand that distractions such as cell phones and teenage passengers can make driving more dangerous.

“Kids tend to judge their experience on getting a license,” said Dr. Kenneth R. Ginsburg of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “The truth is that getting a driver’s license is the very first step to gaining experience.”

It’s an established fact that young drivers crash more often than older drivers, and with worse consequences. People between 15 and 24 years old represent just 14 percent of the United States population, but they account for 30 percent of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28 percent among females, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2005, 4,544 teens ages 16 to 19 died of injuries incurred in crashes, the CDC says. That same year, nearly 400,000 teenage passengers or drivers of vehicles involved in crashes sustained injuries severe enough to require treatment in an emergency department.

“A new driver at any age is going to have a higher crash rate, but with teenagers, you’re combining that experience deficit with immaturity and risk-taking,” said Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Ginsburg headed a study that asked high-school students their opinions of a number of risky driving situations. Sixty percent of the students said that driving experience was very important, but only 15 percent said they had ridden with inexperienced drivers.

Most of the kids in Ginsburg’s study didn’t understand that cell phones could be a distraction to a driver. They also didn’t realize that having other teenage passengers in the car posed a safety risk — a troubling statistic given that two of every three teen drivers surveyed said they often traveled with teen passengers.

“Passengers for older drivers can be neutral or even beneficial, but when teen drivers have teen passengers, they are more likely to crash,” McCartt said. “That’s likely due to distraction passengers bring to the vehicle, and an increased propensity to take risks.”

Another study, this one in Canada, found that high-school students tend to harbor mistaken beliefs that lead them to underestimate the risks of driving. The teens in that study believed that:

Their youth and agility make them better able than more experienced drivers to overcome poor driving conditions or intoxication.
Vehicle problems and highway design are more likely than human error to cause crashes.
If they were in a crash, doctors would be able to save their lives and bring them completely back to normal.
But the study did contain some bits of good news as well. Teenagers seemed to understand that drinking and driving were a bad mix, Ginsburg said.

“Substances are used by a relatively few kids, because they’ve heard that message, and they get what the risk is,” he said. “On the other hand, having passengers in the car and talking on cell phones happens more frequently, and they’re all distractions.”

Ginsburg said that parents need to take a role in disabusing their kids of wrong notions about driving.

“Parents matter,” he said. “Parents are the ones in charge of making sure kids follow restrictions and graduated driving laws. The challenge is for parents to make clear that these restrictions aren’t about control, they’re about safety, and they come from a place of love.”

McCartt’s group has recommended a tougher solution: Raise the driving age to 17 or 18. She points to New Jersey, which is the only state that issues licenses at 17 and which has a consistently lower rate of teen deaths in car crashes than its neighboring states.

“Teen drivers are not good at even identifying whether something’s risky or not,” McCartt said. “The evidence from New Jersey suggests other states would benefit substantially from increasing the age at which teens get their license.”

Source: HealthDay News ScoutNews, LLC.

Teen Driver Safety Facts and Tips

Did you know:

  • Car crashes are the number one cause of teen deaths each year; more than drugs, violence or suicide.
  • According to national statistics car crashes account for more than 1 out of 3 teen deaths.
  • Drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are four more times likely than older drivers to crash.
  • Research shows that male teens are at 1.5 times more risk than their female counterparts.
  • At most risk are teen drivers with teen passengers and the risk increases with the number of teen passengers.
  • Most teen crashes are due to driver error caused by inexperience and distraction.
  • Crash risk is particularly high during the first 12 months that a teen is eligible to drive.
  • Compared to other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seatbelt use.
  • In 2005, 23% of drivers ages 15 – 20 who died in motor vehicle crashes had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 g/dl or higher.
  • In 2005, 54% of the teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
  • Are You Worried Now That Your Teen Is Driving? “When it comes to ‘New-Driver’ and ‘Student Driver’ car magnets, Rookie Driver products are the Preferred Choice of New Teen Drivers”

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    Teen Driver Safety Tips:

  • Know your teens passengers and encourage them to help your teen driver by reducing distractions and wearing seatbelts.
  • Know the rules; review your states new driver booklet with your teen driver. Look online for your local DMV materials.
  • Be a good role model for your teen driver and talk about driving safety strategies with your teen.
  • If you can afford it, definitely pay for extra driver training.
  • Emphasize the risks and inherent dangers of drinking or drugs and driving. Offer to always come and rescue with no consequences.
  • Select a safe car for your teen.
  • Ride periodically with your teen driver to keep tabs on progress and reinforce solid driving habits.
  • Driving is a privilege not a right; have your teen share in the costs of operating the vehicle to teach responsibility, which might translate into better driving skills.
  • References:

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [Online].

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Dept. of Transportation (US). Traffic safety facts 2005: young drivers.

    National Survey of Parents` and Teens` Driving Concerns Show Technology May Be the Answer

    NEW YORK–Along with so many other things in contemporary life, the answer to the classic question, “Can I borrow the car, Dad?” may be redefined by the technology revolution.

    A new national survey of teen driving issues conducted on an independent basis on behalf of Personal GPS Locator company Zoombak™ (www.Zoombak.com) by StrategyOne, a leading market research firm, shows that parents and teenagers have widely divergent reactions once the teens obtain their driver’s licenses:

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    More than eight in ten teenagers (83%) feel happy about the event, compared to just over three in ten of their parents (32%).
    Moreover, nearly six in ten parents (57%) are worried about the safety of their teen, while only one in ten teens are thinking about his or her own safety.

    Key to helping parents overcome their concerns is knowing where their teens are. Nearly two-thirds (64%) worry about the whereabouts of their teens once they’re out on the road. Teenagers, for their part, understand the concern; 79% say that their parents worry about them when they drive. However, two-thirds of all teen drivers agree with the statement, “I wish there were a way to get my parents to trust me more” when they’re behind the wheel.

    In order for parents to feel more comfortable as their teens head out on their own in an automobile, more than four out of five (81%) ask their teenagers to keep them informed of their whereabouts, e.g., by checking in by phone when they arrive at their destination. They also insist on practice driving with parents in the car (59%), curfews (53%) and passenger limits (51%).

    Only 17% of all parents currently use technology to monitor the vehicle their teen is driving. What many don’t realize, however, is that affordable GPS devices are available that can instantly tell them where their vehicles are, whether they’ve left a pre-defined geographic area, that they’ve arrived safely at a destination, even what route the vehicle has travelled over the past 60 minutes. Such technology may, in fact, satisfy new teen drivers’ number one wish for their parents—“Give me more freedom” (53%)—by allowing them to earn their parents’ confidence.

    Unlimited On-Demand GPS Device

    “Zoombak is in the business of helping individuals and families take advantage of the power of global positioning technology to improve their lives,” said Simon Buckingham, CEO of Zoombak, the U.S. market leader in personal locator products. “GPS is both accurate and suitable for a huge array of uses—including building trust between teen drivers and their parents.”

    When placed in a vehicle, Zoombak’s automobile tracking product, the Advanced GPS Car & Family Locator, can provide on-demand information about a vehicle’s whereabouts. By logging in to Zoombak’s password-protected Web site, for example, real-time location data can be displayed on a map, along with the closest street address. Similar information can be delivered via text message to a parent’s cell phone.

    Other ways of monitoring vehicle movement are also available via the Zoombak locator. Personalized “safety zones” can be established around ten different locations; when the car enters or leaves an active zone, parents can be instantly alerted via email or text message with location information. Safety zones can be active simultaneously or in any combination, and can be scheduled for 24/7 use or “turned on” or “turned off” during certain hours of day or night.

    Zoombak’s GPS locator can be hardwired to a car’s battery using a separate install kit, and also comes with a car charger. When used portably the unit has a battery life of up to five days.

    The StrategyOne nationwide study of 300 new teen drivers and parents of new teen drivers entitled “Teen Drivers and Parents: Where Are The Road Bumps?” was conducted online in July, 2008. Teens were 16-17 years of age with driving licenses or permits, and adults were screened for parents of teens 16-17 years of age with driving licenses or permits. Equal numbers of females and males were obtained for both segments, and reflected U.S. census statistics for ethnicity, region and education.

    About Zoombak:

    Zoombak LLC, develops and markets advanced products and technologies that keep people connected to the people and things that really matter. Zoombak’s compact, assisted (A-GPS) locator system employs satellite-enabled GPS and a location network server to track teen and senior drivers, recover stolen vehicles, and find lost pets, among other purposes. A U.S.-based company, Zoombak is a privately held subsidiary of Liberty Media, which owns a broad range of electronic retailing, media, communications and entertainment businesses. For more information, please see http://www.zoombak.com or http://www.libertymedia.com.

    Source: http://www.theautochannel.com

    Arkansas House Approves New Young Driver Restrictions

    The Arkansas House on Wednesday approved new restrictions for young drivers after a debate that sharply divided rural and urban lawmakers.

    Lawmakers voted 58-35 in favor of the bill by Sen. Jimmy Jeffress, who a day earlier tearfully urged a legislative committee to back the plan. Jeffress, a retired school teacher from Crossett, told lawmakers that keeping teens off the road late at night and restricting the number of passengers they can have will save lives and prevent injuries.

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    Jeffress’ bill sets restrictions for 16-year-old and 17-year-old drivers. The measure now goes back to the Senate for consideration of an amendment. “This is by far the most dangerous time of a driver’s lifetime,” said Rep. Gene Shelby, D-Hot Springs, the House sponsor of the bill.

    The bill bans motorists under 18 from driving between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. except for work, school or emergencies. It also prohibits the young drivers from having more than one passenger who is not a family member. But rural lawmakers, like Rep. David Dunn of Forrest City, said carpooling is often necessary for teens and children to get to school and other activities.
    “I just think we’re out of bounds and I think we’ll have a horrible time enforcing this,” said Dunn, a Democrat.

    But backers of the bill argued that the measure puts in place an important tool for parents — a law to keep their teens off the road late at night and from driving around with a carful of friends. “Driving is a privilege, not a right,” said Rep. Allen Kerr, R-Little Rock. “And yes, it’s our job as parents to administer that privilege, but there (are) an awful lot of parents out there that need help.”

    Source: JILL ZEMAN, AP
    Wed Mar 04, 2009, 04:40 PM CST