National Teen Driver Safety Week is Oct. 20-26, and safety experts are urging parents to talk about safe driving with the new drivers in their households.
To mark National Teen Driver Safety Week, the National Safety Council released ten sobering facts about teen driver safety.
1. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. 2. The most dangerous time of a teen driver's life is the first 12 months after receiving a license. 3. A teen driver's crash risk is three times that of drivers ages 20 and older. 4. Teens crash most often because they are inexperienced – not because they take more risks behind the wheel. 5. Teen passengers are one of the biggest distractions for teen drivers. Just one teen passenger raises a teen driver's fatal crash risk 44 percent. Two passengers doubles fatal crash risk. Three or more quadruples crash risk. 6. Most fatal nighttime crashes involving teen drivers happen between 9 p.m. and midnight 7. More than half of teens killed in car crashes were not restrained by a seatbelt. 8. Most states' teen driving laws and restrictions do not adequately protect teen drivers from the most serious crash risks 9. Teens really do learn to drive from watching their parents. A survey from The Allstate Foundation found 80 percent of teens cite their parents as having the most influence over teens' driving habits. 10. Crash risk remains high after licensure. In fact, young drivers' crash risk does not significantly begin decreasing until age 25.
According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, in 2012 there were 64 teen (15-19) vehicle occupants killed in Missouri traffic crashes, with 81 percent being unbelted. Eleven percent of the unbelted teens who were killed were also impaired drivers.
"Only 66 percent of Missouri's teens wear their seat belts," said Leanna Depue, executive committee chair of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. "So many of those tragedies could be prevented, if only teens would take the time to buckle up."
Teen drivers are more likely to drive distracted or substance-impaired than other drivers. Under Missouri law, drivers age 21 and under are banned from texting while driving and can be fined up to $200 for this offense. Missouri also has a Zero Tolerance Law, meaning if anyone under 21 is caught driving with even a trace of alcohol in their system their license will be suspended.
The Missouri Department of Transportation offers these safe driving tips:
• Drive focused, without distraction of talking or texting on your cell phone. • Drive like you care. Follow the laws of the road. • Drive alert - substance-free and well-rested. • Buckle Up. It's your best defense in any traffic crash.