Campaign urges parents to emphasize safe driving with teens

 


McClatchy Washington Bureau

The U.S. Department of Transportation launched a campaign Tuesday challenging parents to discuss driving safety with their teenagers in order to reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes, the No. 1 killer of 14- to 18-year-olds in the United States, according to federal data.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration scheduled the launch to coincide with National Teen Driver Safety Week. The campaign encourages parents to spend time each day during the week discussing one of the “5 to Drive” safety topics: No cellphone use or texting while driving, no extra passengers, no speeding, no alcohol and no driving or riding without a seat belt.

The campaign “is about getting parents to engage in an ongoing discussion with teens about safe driving,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David L. Strickland. “As it happens, right now we’re losing way too many young people in crashes that are 100 percent preventable.”

Strickland said 2,105 teen drivers were involved in fatal crashes in 2011, and 45 percent of them died in the wrecks. His agency designed the safety topic list to counteract poor driving decisions that studies indicate contribute significantly to the high death rate among teenage drivers.

Strickland cited federal data showing that in 2011, speeding was a factor in 35 percent of fatal crashes involving teen drivers. It also shows that more than half the teenage passengers who died in crashes were unrestrained, 12 percent of teen drivers who were involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time and 505 people died in crashes in which drivers 14 to 18 had alcohol in their systems.

Parents can play an integral role in preventing crashes involving teens, said Dr. Flaura Koplin Winston, the scientific director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Winston said a recent survey of 5,500 teens across the country, conducted with State Farm Insurance Companies, found that teenagers were 50 percent less likely to crash when parents “set clear rules, keep track of their activities and do so in a supportive manner.”

Strickland noted the importance of supporting teens who make safe driving decisions. He mentioned an incident earlier this month in which a Massachusetts high school punished senior honor student Erin Cox after she went to pick up a friend from a party because she didn’t want her friend to drive drunk or get into a vehicle with an intoxicated driver.

North Andover High School demoted Cox from her post as the captain of the school’s volleyball team and suspended her for five games.

“I appreciate the fact that we want to make sure that it is a zero-tolerance situation regarding teens and alcohol. They shouldn’t be drinking at all,” Strickland said. “But the last thing you want to do is to punish that teen that made the right decision.”

Email: ssexton@mcclatchydc.com

Read more World Wires stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
Worshippers pray by the Stone of Unction, where according to Christianity Jesus was laid after he was crucified during the Washing of the Feet ceremony inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, traditionally believed by many to be the site of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ, in Jerusalem, Thursday, April 17, 2014. Orthodox Christians from around the world are in the Holy Land marking the solemn period of Easter.

    Christians mark Good Friday in the Holy Land

    Christians in the Holy Land are commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Good Friday prayers and processions through Jerusalem's Old City.

  • Pakistani madrassa names library after bin Laden

    A spokesman for a controversial Pakistani cleric who runs an Islamic seminary for girls in the capital, Islamabad, says he has named the school's new library in honor of Osama bin Laden.

  •  
Danwon High School students hold papers with messages such as "come back," "miss you," "love you" and "don't loose your hope" for their friends who are missing after Wednesday's ferry disaster at the school yard in Ansan, South Korea, Thursday, April 17, 2014. Strong currents, rain and bad visibility hampered an increasingly anxious search Thursday for 287 passengers, many thought to be high school students, still missing more than a day after their ferry flipped onto its side and sank in cold waters off the southern coast of South Korea.

    Rescuers rush to reach hundreds in SKorean ferry

    Rescuers scrambled to find hundreds of ferry passengers still missing Friday and feared dead, as fresh questions emerged about whether quicker action by the captain of the doomed ship could have saved lives.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category