The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is marking National Teen Driver Safety Week by encouraging parents of teen drivers to always set the rules before their teens hit the road.
This “5 To Drive” initiative is a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration campaign to address the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers. GOHS is urging parents to share the following five rules with their teens:
• No drinking and driving.
• Always wear your seatbelt.
• No cell phone use while driving.
• No speeding.
• No more than one passenger at a time.
“We want parents to know that even though their teens might be gaining some independence, the parents’ job doesn’t end there,” said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood. “Teens are still kids. They need rules and restrictions and since traffic crashes remain the No. 1 killer of teens, those rules and restrictions should be enforced.”
In Georgia, 158 drivers age 20 and younger were involved in fatal traffic crashes in 2012. According to NHTSA, the first six months are the most dangerous time for new drivers. Coupled with the fact that only about 25 percent of parents have serious talks with their children about safe driving, this makes for a potentially deadly combination.
Inexperience, however, isn’t the only problem and that is why GOHS is highlighting the “5 To Drive” rules. Nationwide in 2012, 28 percent of the young drivers killed in traffic crashes had alcohol in their system.
More than half of the teen passengers killed that same year were not wearing seatbelts. Twenty percent of 15 to 19-year-old drivers known to be distracted during a fatal crash were distracted by their cell phone.
Speeding was also a factor in 48 percent of the crashes that killed teen drivers nationwide in 2012.
“Teen drivers are already at a disadvantage because of their inexperience,” Blackwood said. “By adding these risk factors, the danger is far greater. We’re hoping Georgia parents will use the occasion of Teen Driver Safety Week to talk to their teens about these essential rules.”
For more information about Teen Driver Safety Week or other teen driver safety issues, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org.