Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2016, teen driver deaths increased 6 percent from the previous year.
To raise awareness about six driving dangers, KDOT is participating in National Teen Driver Safety Week and would like to remind teen drivers:
Don’t drive while impaired: Although teens are too young to legally drink, they still are at risk for driving under the influence. Nearly one out of five teen drivers involved in crashes resulting in a fatality had been drinking, the NHTSA found When it comes to drinking and driving, it’s just not worth it.
Buckle up — every trip, every time. It doesn’t matter where in the vehicle you are sitting, everyone should wear their seat belts. It is one of the easiest ways for teens and their passengers to travel safer and buckling up saves lives.
Ditch the distractions. Distracted driving is not only dangerous, it is deadly. That text message or social media post can wait. Your life is way too important to risk it. Remember that distracted driving can look like many different things – talking to other passengers, listening to music, turning up the heat or air conditioning and eating. These are just a few of the distractions that all drivers experience.
Go the speed limit. Speeding is a huge problem for drivers of any age., Almost one-third of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding, the NHTSA found. Following the speed limit could mean the difference between life and death.
Passengers can affect how you drive. The likelihood of teens engaging in risky driving behaviors or being distracted increases with multiple passengers. As the driver, you control the mood of your trip. Limit the number of passengers who ride with you or tell them how they can ride safely in your vehicle.
Driving drowsy is dangerous. Everyone is busy, even teens. With sports, studying for tests, extracurricular activities, jobs and even hanging out with loved ones, there is a lot going on in the lives of young drivers. With all these important tasks, the amount of sleep young motorists receive is far less than what is needed to drive safely. Remember to get a good night’s sleep before you get behind the wheel. Only drive when you are fully awake and alert.
Parents, and guardians, it is up to all of us to teach the next generation the importance of driving safely. Lead by example and show your teens what safe driving behavior looks like.
For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week please visit: .