Teen Driver Safety

teendriversVERMONT - This week marks the seventh annual National Teen Drivers Safety Week. The week was created in an effort to stress the importance of safety for younger drivers as they learn the rules of the road. 

National Teen Drivers Safety Week was first enacted by congress in 2007 to raise awareness of various dangers that inexperienced drivers face.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens ages 14-18. Lieutenant Michael Henry of the St. Johnsbury State Police Barracks said that due to distracted driving, there are approximately three fatal teen crashes for every one fatal adult crash.

Henry says that distractions could be anything, from changing the radio station, to texting, or even simply talking to another passenger in the vehicle. NHTSA also says that in 2011 twelve percent of teens were distracted when involved in fatal crashes. 

Michael Barret from Barret Auto Insurance sees a vast amount of teen-related accidents. He believes that good driving habits are instilled by the parents. 

Barret said, "Lead by example, don't break the law, which is key because children follow the parents. So, don't text and drive... It's very important that parents just teach the children to focus on the important process, and that is to drive."

In 2013, the NHTSA unveiled their "5 to Drive" campaign, in order to reduce high death rates among teens due to driving. The campaign is composed of five rules: drive sober, buckle up, avoid distractions, don't speed, and no more than one passenger at a time. NHTSA says parents should go over this checklist with their teenagers, in order to ensure safety, and prevent accidents. 

The "5 to Drive" campaign was inspired because in 201, more than half of teen occupants of passenger vehicles who died in car crashes were not wearing a seatbelt. Also, in 35 percent of fatal teen crashes, speeding was a factor. Finally, 505 people across the nation died in teen related car crashes in which those teenagers were under the influence of alcohol. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can give you more statistics about fatal teen car crashes and information on how you can keep your child safe.