Be Smart. Be Well. Drive Safe.
Non-profit organization spreads awareness to keep teens safe on the road this summer
Pinellas, Fla. (June 22, 2015) – Summer is underway, and with the excitement of no school comes the freedom of late nights and the joys of cruising the highways with friends. Unfortunately, new survey results from Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) indicate that teens succumb to more risky in-vehicle behaviors during the summer months. These behaviors lead to more crashes, serious injuries, and deaths than during the school year.
June is National Safety Month and youth leaders from across the state travelled to St. Petersburg to participate in the Florida Teen Safe Driving Leadership Academy to teach adults and teens about traffic safety, and to empower them to return to schools and communities with tools and a plan to conduct a teen driver safety campaign. Four youth from the LiveFree! Clubs participated in the Leadership Academy and learned ways to help promote safety in our community. To receive updates and information from the event, search for #FLTeenSafeDriver, #AWYS and #SADDStrong on Facebook and twitter. In honor of the Leadership Academy, The LiveFree! Coalition of Pinellas County is spreading awareness of the importance of safe driving, to remind parents how to keep their teens safe on the roads this summer.
According to the National Safety Council, nearly 100 people die every day on our roadways, in preventable car crashes due to alcohol, speeding, fatigue and distraction. Half of all teens will be involved in a crash before graduating from high school. Teens crash because they are inexperienced and have trouble merging, making safe turns, judging gaps in traffic, and driving the right speed for conditions.
According to Danielle Branciforte from the Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalition, “The top three reasons teens die in crashes are because of inexperience behind the wheel, distracted driving (cell phones, peer passengers, eating, etc.) and speeding.”
“Summer can make teens feel like they are invincible and have all the freedom in the world,” says Daphne Lampley of LiveFree! Coalition. “Adults play a crucial role in making sure that when teens get behind the wheel, they understand they are in control of their lives and not invincible from danger.”
Below are tips from LiveFree! and their partners that you can use to talk with teens to help keep them safe while driving.
- Teens just want to have fun. The presence of teen passengers increases the crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers. This risk increases with the number of teen passengers. Limit the number of passengers allowed in the car while your teen is driving.
- Power It Down. Crash risk is four times higher when a driver uses a cell phone, whether or not it is hands free. Tell your teen to power off their cellphone, and to put it in a purse or glove compartment so they are not tempted to use it while driving.
- Don’t drink. Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash, and about two-in-three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime. Remind your teen that underage drinking is illegal, and they must never drink.
- Click-it or ticket. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, of the teens (aged 13-19) who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2012, approximately 55 percent were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Research shows that seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half. Your teen should also be aware that if they don’t click it they may get a ticket.
- Slow and steady wins the race. Obey posted speed limit signs. Racing the person next to you or rushing to get somewhere only increases your chances of getting hurt. Slow down and enjoy the scenery, it’s better to get there late than never.
“According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 56% of teens say they rely on their parents to learn how to drive,” says Misha Liverpool from the Suncoast Safety Council. “Teens pick up on their parent’s driving habits – both good and bad. Research indicates that starting with their first car ride, children observe and emulate their parent’s driving habits once they become licensed drivers. Therefore, the most important thing parents can do is to lead by example and drive the way they want their teens to drive.”
“Parents and teens should know the Graduated Driver Licensing laws in their state and follow them,” says Danielle. “Parents should also be setting a good example with their own driving practices. Even once a teenager can drive by themselves, it’s important for parents to ride with them regularly to make sure they’re driving safe.”
About LiveFree! Coalition
LiveFree! Coalition raises awareness about the harmful effects of substance abuse among youth, young adults and adults in Pinellas County. By offering trainings, advocacy, town hall meetings, a Speaker’s Bureau, environmental strategies and awareness events, LiveFree! encourages Pinellas County families to live safe, healthy and drug-free. For more information, visit our website at www.pinellascoalition.com or email us email@example.com.