A week to think about teens driving safely
Sunday through Saturday is National Teen Driver Safety Week.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for teens ages 15 to 18, ahead of all other types of injury, disease and violence. Inexperience and risk-taking behavior are factors that increase the danger of crashes for teens.
“Parents can help protect their teens by talking with them about how to avoid risky driving behaviors,” said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan State Police’s Office of Highway Safety Planning. “Because of their lack of experience, teen drivers are at a greater risk of being killed or injured in a crash. That is why it is so important to start a conversation with teens and encourage safe driving practices.”
In Michigan, teens and young adults ages 15 to 20 years accounted for 7.6 percent of all traffic deaths in 2018, with 55.4 percent of those deaths being the driver. In addition, 9,637 teenagers and young adults were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2018, representing 12.7 percent of all people injured in a crash.
Michigan, and other states have adopted Graduated Driver Licensing laws for teen drivers as a way to promote safety behind the wheel and reduce serious injury and death in a crash. Teens face the greatest risk of a crash during their first year of driving. GDL programs limit high-risk driving among teens and can reduce teen crash risk by as much as 50 percent. For more information on the GDL program in Michigan, go to www.michigan.gov/teendriver.
A unique opportunity for teens to teach other teens about safe driving is the Strive for a Safer Drive, or S4SD program. Students at every Michigan high school can participate in S4SD, with cash prizes awarded to the top five winning entries. Parents and teachers are urged to discuss the opportunity with teens and encourage participation in the program. Applications are due Nov. 14. Application information, including examples of winning campaigns, can be found at www.michigan.gov/s4sd.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also provides information parents can use to help keep teens safe including tips on seat belt safety, distracted driving, impaired driving, and speeding. For more details on Teen Driver Safety Week, including safe driving tips for parents and teens, go to www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving.