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Teenager See Teenager Do

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On: Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 12:13PM | By: Karen Cook

Teenager See Teenager Do

A new study conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide and funded by the General Motors Foundation was released last week which revealed some disturbing trends concerning teens and driving. They aren't really surprising though and with a little parental guidance the problems could be nearly eliminated.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration more than 2500 teenagers are killed in car accidents each year. This total is higher than any other single cause of death for this group. The numbers are split roughly in half between drivers and passengers with drivers representing 56% and passengers 44%. 12% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were on the phone or texting at the time of the crash. All told, 270 people died in these accidents. 71% of teens have admitted to composing or sending SMS/text messages while driving.

The survey from Safe Kids Worldwide showed that of the 1,051 teens questioned, all of whom were between 13 and 19 years of age, 23% don't routinely wear a seatbelt—and that half of the teenaged fatalities were not wearing seatbelts. 79% of them have felt unsafe when a teen was driving. Of those, 40% told the driver to stop doing whatever was making them uncomfortable. However, almost as many (39%) did not do anything about the situation.

39% of these teens said they had been a passenger when a teen driver was texting, and 43% when the driver was talking on the phone. A whopping 95% of those surveyed believe others text or talk while driving.

So, what can we, as a collective group of parents and role models, do to curb these dangerous tendencies?
â–º Insist on stricter enforcement of seatbelt laws, as well as set a good example by wearing them ourselves.
â–º Encourage stronger bans on cell phone use and support strict bans on drinking and driving.
â–º Know how many teens will be in the car and limit the number of friends your teen can transport at one time. This limits the number of distractions to the driver.
â–º There should also be restrictions on night time teen driving as this is the most dangerous time of the day.
â–º There should also be a more thorough training and licensing program available for teens which would involve parents, schools, and local government agencies.

60% of the teens surveyed said they had seen their parents talk on the phone while driving; 28% said their parents had sent or read texts while driving. If your children see you use a seat belt, obey speed limits and other road rules, and stay off any mobile devices when you drive, they are more likely to emulate this behavior when they begin to drive. It also isn't a bad idea to teach them to confront a driver of any age when they are uncomfortable or feel unsafe.

It's up to all of us to teach future generations how to be safe on the road. The job doesn't get any easier with new technology at our fingertips but, as the superheroes say, with great power comes great responsibility. Pass it on!


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