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October 19-25, 2014, is
National Teen Driver Safety Week

Keep your Hands on the Wheel, your Eyes on the Road, and both Eyes and Hands Away from your Cell Phone while Driving!

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of 14 to 18 year olds in the United States and in Iowa. Nationwide in 2012, there were 2,055 teen drivers involved in fatal crashes and 42% of those teens were killed in those crashes. In Iowa, 49 drivers age 20 or younger were involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2012. Several factors contribute to these unfortunate statistics:

Alcohol: Teen drivers are at a greater risk of death in alcohol-related crashes compared to drivers in all other age groups, even though they’re too young to legally buy or possess alcohol. Nationally in 2012, 28 percent of the young drivers (15 to 20 years old) killed in crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01 grams per deciliter or higher.

Seat belts: Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways for teens to stay safe in a vehicle. Whether it’s immaturity or a false perception that they’re invincible—teens aren’t buckling up. In 2012, of all the young (15- to 20-year-old) passenger vehicle drivers killed in crashes, more than half (55%) of those killed were unbuckled.

Texting: Texting or dialing while driving is more than just risky—it’s deadly. In 2012, among drivers 15 to 19 years old who were distracted in fatal crashes, nearly 1 in 5 were distracted by phones. This age group had the highest percentage of drivers distracted by phone use.

Speeding: In 2012, speeding was a factor in almost half (48%) of the crashes that killed 15- to 20-year-old drivers.

Passengers: Teens may be very social, but the car isn’t the place to socialize. Extra passengers for a teen driver can lead to disastrous results. In fact, according to a recent survey by the Allstate Foundation, half of all teen drivers even admit that they are safer drivers without their friends as passengers.

Talk to Your Teen
You are the biggest influence on your teen’s safety behind the wheel, but in a recent survey, only 25 percent of parents had talked with their kids about driving dangers.  You’ve guided your teen this far but your job is not done. Teens whose parents impose driving restrictions typically engage in less risky driving and are involved in fewer crashes. They can’t listen if you don’t talk.

  • October 19-25, join parents across the country in the “5 to Drive” campaign.
  • Get the facts about teen driving and share some of the grim statistics with your teen.
  • Remind your teen that driving is a privilege to be taken seriously.
  • Set the Rules Before They Hit the Road.
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The Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau has several programs aimed at reducing teen crashes, injuries and deaths. A desk-top driving simulator is taken to local schools providing teens a hands-on experience in understand how driving behaviors affect reaction times and abilities.

A pilot program in Sac County encourages safe driving by teens.  Seatbelts Are For Everyone (SAFE) is designed to increase awareness and modify teen driver behavior by providing consistent and meaningful messags.  It brings teens together for peer-to-peer interaction providing the skills they need to be better drivers. The Bureau works with Creative Visions to provide workshops and programs that promote traffic safety and highlight the dangers of driving while distracted.   A new program with Unity Point reminds teens that it takes only One Second to make the right or wrong choice while driving.  Farm Safety for Just Kids works with rural teen in their Buckle Up or Eat Glass program. 

On January 1, 2014, an enhanced graduated driver’s license (GDL) law became effective. Applicants for an intermediate license must have an instruction permit for at least 12 months.  Unless waived by a parent or guardian, the holder of an intermediate license must limit the number of unrelated minor passengers to 1 for the first six months after it is issued.

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Created: 02-07-2006
Last Updated: 04-22-2011 (JLR)
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