Juneau Calls on Adults to Model Good Behavior on Teen Driver Safety Day

Tuesday, October 18, 2011
By Allyson Hagen

Juneau Calls on Parents and Adults to Model Good Behavior for Youth on Teen Driver Safety Day

Helena, MT – In the United States, nothing kills more teens than car crashes. October 18 is Teen Driver Safety Day in Montana. Last year, Montana high schools trained over 8,500 teens in the driving skills needed to stay safe on the roads and highways.  While young driver crashes are on the decline in Montana, there is significant room for improvement to ensure young people drive safely on our streets and highways.

Superintendent Denise Juneau said, "Educating our teens about safe driving and the importance of following the rules of the road is critical to continuing the trend of fewer young driver crashes. Teen Driver Safety Day is a great opportunity for parents and other adults to talk with teens about good driving habits."

The main cause of teen crashes is driver inexperience. All new drivers are likelier than experienced drivers to be involved in a crash due to judgment errors, speed and inattention. Another factor in teen crashes is distracted driving. According to the 2011 YRBS survey, 53.3% of Montana high school students used a cell phone while driving, and 50% texted while driving. The odds of getting in a crash are four to five times higher if talking on a phone and eight times higher if texting while driving.

Data also shows the majority of teen drivers and passengers who died in crashes were not wearing seatbelts. While the percentage of students who never or rarely wore a seat continues to decline, only 42.7% of Montana students reported always wearing a seat belt as a passenger, while 61% always wear their seat belts when driving. (2011 YRBS)

Continued Juneau, "Parents can play a large role in preventing teen driver crashes. As adults, we need to lead by example by always wearing our seat belts, obeying the rules of the road and being safe and courteous drivers."

The CDC recommends adults set rules of the road with their teens. Rules for teens may include: 1) Make sure your teen always wears a seat belt. 2) Limit your teen's nighttime driving. 3) Restrict the number of passengers your teen can have in the car.

For more information on how parents and adults can help promote teen driving safety: www.cdc.gov/ParentsAreTheKey.

Montana YRBS 2011 trend data: http://www.opi.mt.gov/pdf/YRBS/11/Trend/11Trend_HS.pdf

MDT Young Driver Crash data: http://www.mdt.mt.gov/safety/safety-initiatives/young.shtml



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