LINCOLN – Yesterday kicked off National Teen Driver Safety Week where the Highway Safety Office in Nebraska wants to empower parents to discuss the importance of driver safety with young drivers.
According to a release from the Nebraska Department of Transportation, teen crashes resulting in injury or death have dropped by 57 percent since the implementation of Nebraska’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law in 2008. National Teen Driver Safety Week lasts until Saturday, October 26.
Although death rates have dropped, motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for teens. Nationally, 55 percent of teens who died from a motor vehicle crash were not wearing their seat belts, but in Nebraska in 2017, 73 percent of the teen traffic fatalities (drivers and passengers ages 13-19) were not wearing seatbelts.
While teen drivers make up seven percent of all licensed drivers across the state, they account for 21 percent of all reported crashes in 2018. Almost 95 percent of Nebraskan teens surveyed identified distractions like texting while driving a risk. However, 67 percent of the same teens admitted to texting while driving “some or a lot” in the past month.
Seat belt usage, impaired and distracted driving, speed limits and passengers all pose a serious risk for younger inexperienced drivers. Parents can help protect their teen drivers by talking with them about these risks. A study released this year showed involved parents who set rules and monitor their teens’ driving behavior in a supportive way can lower their teens’ crash risk by half.
For additional information and tips, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website at: www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving. This website has detailed information and statistics on teen driving and outlines the basic rules parents can use to help reduce the risks for teen drivers.