Federal highway traffic officials are promoting an annual safety awareness campaign this week, which is designed to curb distracted driving behaviors among teen drivers, such as cell phone use and alcohol consumption.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched its National Teen Driver Safety Week campaign on October 15, 2017, encouraging parents or guardians to have conversations about safe driving with their teenage children, in an effort to prevent roughly 100,000 teenage auto accident injuries annually. The campaign will run nationwide until October 21, 2017.
According to the agency, an estimated 99,000 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 years are injured every year in car crashes, while nearly 2,000 young drivers are involved in fatal vehicle collisions.
Motor vehicle accidents have become the leading cause of death for teens between the age of 15 and 18 years in the United States, ahead of all other types of injury, disease or violence.
Officials from the NHTSA launched the National Teen Driver Safety Week by promoting their new slogan “5 to Drive”, which recommends five safety tips that could prevent the majority of teenage driver automobile crashes that either result in injuries or deaths.
Officials encourage parents to talk to new teenage drivers to take the proper safety precautions to make sure everyone stays safe during travels. The five tips include no cell phone use or texting while driving, no extra passengers, no speeding, no alcohol, and no driving without a seat belt.
The campaign stresses the importance about distracted driving risk factors such as cell phone use and extra passengers that can take away the attention of a new driver who is already at a statistically higher rate of a crash, according to NHTSA research.
The NHTSA says that human error accounts for roughly 94 percent of all motor vehicle crashes across the nation, which is why the agency will focus on the importance of young drivers avoiding distractions.
The national campaign will seek to find ways to change driver behavior through legislation, enforcement, public awareness and education.
Distracted driving is one of the fastest growing safety issues on U.S. roadways, and the risks are not just for the driver and their passengers, but for everyone else on the roadway also.
One of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving is texting while driving. According to the NHTSA, at any given moment approximately 660,000 drivers are using or manipulating electronics while driving which is a statistic that has grown since 2010.
Data from 2013 found that of the entire driving population that 3,154 people were killed and another 424,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that involved some form of distraction by an electronic device.
The NHTSA is encouraging parents and caregivers to have driver safety conversations on a regular basis to ensure that young drivers, who are the most at risk of a crash, are aware and acknowledge the dangers posed by distracted driving.