NSC Aims to Reduce Teen Distracted Driving

The National Safety Council recently announced its support for National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 17 to 23). Drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 are involved in fatal crashes at more than twice the rate as the rest of the population. Established by Congress in 2007, this observance brings attention to the unnecessary teen deaths and injuries on the road.

The theme of this year’s National Teen Driver Safety Week is reducing distractions—such as passengers and wireless devices. Distractions and inexperience are leading factors in teen crashes.

NSC supports Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL), a research-based licensing system that reduces teen drivers’ high crash risk by up to 40 percent, the agency. Designed to protect teens while they are learning to drive, GDL gives novice drivers gradual exposure to driving challenges and potential distractions, such as nighttime driving and passengers, allowing them to build experience and skills in lower-risk conditions. Learn about GDL laws at www.nsc.org/safety_road/Distracted_Driving/Pages/StateLaw.aspx.

“NSC has an aggressive strategy to cut teen motor vehicle fatalities by 30 percent over the next four years,” said David Teater, NSC senior director of transportation initiatives. “We will be successful by working with states to strengthen their GDL system and helping parents better understand the dangers their teen drivers face behind the wheel.”

“For example, parents can make a difference by getting involved and talking to their teens and guiding them through the learn-to-drive process,” Teater said. “Parents who understand why passengers increase the risk of a crash for teens and why driving after 9 p.m. at night is particularly high risk for teens, are better able to manage their teens’ driving privileges to reduce those risks.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently launched Parents Are the Key, a communications campaign to raise awareness about steps parents can take to reduce serious injury and death among teen drivers. The National Safety Council encourages parents to visit www.cdc.gov/parentsarethekey to learn more about the role they can play in teen driver education.

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