Global Youth Traffic Safety Month Aims to Reduce Teen-Driving Deaths
May 8th, 2017 by Wapner Newman
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. But that risk isn’t exclusive to the U.S. That’s why, in 2011, National Youth Traffic Safety Month became Global Youth Traffic Safety Month.
Every May, during each week of GYTSM, the National Organizations for Youth Safety focus on specific safety campaigns. During Week 1 this year, the focus was on encouraging parents to talk to their teens about safe driving. The central themes of subsequent weeks are:
Most parents don’t look forward to talking to their teens about the risks of driving. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, parental involvement is a critical component of teen driving safety.
Tips for Parents
The CDC offers resources for parents that may help them have tough conversations with their teens. One such resource is a template for a parent-teen driving agreement.
The parent-teen driving agreement ensures that teens know what their parents expect, as well as the consequences for breaking the rules. The CDC template includes “promises” for teens to check-off, such as:
- To always wear a seat belt, and require passengers to do the same
- To drive only when in control of one’s emotions
- To never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs and to refrain from riding with a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- To never text or talk on a cellphone while driving.
The iDriveSafely website has a more thorough parent-teen driving agreement that expands expectations for parents. Under the section about drugs and alcohol, the contract says:
“If I find myself in a situation where I may be riding with someone who is under medication or has used alcohol, I will contact my parents or another designated adult to arrange for a ride. I understand that my parents will make every effort to avoid asking me a lot of questions about it and I will not be punished for my friends’ behavior.”
The Role of Peer Influence
Peer pressure may cause teens to put themselves in dangerous situations, because they want to fit in. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s TeenDriverSource explains how parents can give teens safety tools that let them call for help, while not feeling embarrassed in front of peers. The example the hospital uses is that a teen girl riding in a car with an unsafe driver can call a parent, under the pretense of “checking in,” but use some previously agreed upon code word that lets parents know she is unsafe and needs help.
Peer pressure may also have a positive influence on teen driving. The website Impact Teen Drivers features first-person videos from teen drivers whose dangerous driving behaviors caused serious and fatal crashes. Some teen drivers had passengers who died in crashes, and some drivers were on their own, when they crashed into an object and died, or suffered disabling injuries. These videos are difficult to watch, but – in conjunction with parental involvement – they may help prevent teens from making the same mistakes.
If you have any questions about teen drivers and crashes, the attorneys at Wapner Newman can help. For almost 40 years, we have been the trusted advocates for countless personal injury victims and their families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We offer risk-free consultations and work on a contingency basis, which means that we do not require you to pay any fees until we have secured a recovery on your behalf. We encourage you to contact us today by calling 1-800-LAW-6600 or filling out a free case evaluation form.