National Teen Driver Safety Week: What to know and what you can do

In 2015, 322 people killed in teen (15 to 19) distraction-affected crashes. (Photo: Shutterstock) Drivers everywhere know that the longer you drive the more comfortable you are behind the wheel. Unfortunately, this doesn’t translate to risk-free driving. Accidents on the road can happen regardless of experience or whether you have a smart car or not, among other variables. For teen drivers still assimilating to the road, practicing safe habits can mean the difference between avoiding accidents and their fallout, and driving longevity. However, many teen drivers continue to be distracted and put themselves and others at risk. In 2015, 1,972 teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes; an estimated 99,000 teen passenger vehicle drivers were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. What can we do to lower these numbers? This year, on October 15-21, 2017, National Teen Driver Safety Week has information for parents who may be unsure how to approach the subject with their teen drivers. Multiple campaigns fall under National Teen Driver Safety Week, so here’s what you need to know: Law enforcement is working to crack down on distracted drivers, especially those who text and drive. Distracted driving puts everyone is at risk. Distracted driving concerns everyone on the road. As technology continues to be infused in our cars, drivers are more comfortable with smart car technology such as blind spot sensors and automatic braking. As comfort levels grow, drivers are becoming more relaxed behind the wheel. Law enforcement is working to crack down on distracted drivers, especially those who text and drive. Parents should remind teen drivers that driving is a major responsibility and nothing happening on your phone could be more important than focusing on the road. For teens looking to argue they aren’t distracted, the numbers aren’t on their side. In 2015, 322 people killed in teen (15 to 19) distraction-affected crashes; 194 teens were killed in teen distraction-affected crashes. Ninety percent (90%) of their young passengers (ages 13-19) who died in crashes also weren’t restrained. You’re never too old to buckle up. According to Traffic Safety Marketing, teens buckle up less frequently than adults do. In 2013, over half of teens killed in crashes weren’t wearing a seat belt. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data also reports that as children get older, they are less likely to want to buckle up. Parents should lead by example and reinforce the notion throughout the years. It’s also impacting their younger passengers: when teens aren’t wearing their seat belts, 90% of their young passengers (ages 13-19) who died in crashes also weren’t restrained. Teens need to know that wearing a seat belt can make the difference between life and death. Twenty-nine percent (29%) of young drivers [5 to 20 years old] killed in crashes in 2013 had alcohol in their systems, despite being too young to legally purchase or possess alcohol. Just say no to drinking and driving. Minimum drinking age laws save lives every day, yet those laws are still ignored and many pay the price for it. Twenty-nine percent (29%) of young drivers [5 to 20 years old] killed in crashes in 2013 had alcohol in their systems, despite being too young to legally purchase or possess alcohol. Parents should strictly enforce this as a rule of thumb until teens become of legal age. Even then, drivers should always be aware of how much they’ve drunk and whether or not they should be operating a motor vehicle. Drunk driving puts everyone at risk of an accident, a DUI, insurance costs rising, and, in worst case scenarios, death. Parents will naturally worry for their teenagers as they grow up, but there are ways to ensure they are practicing safe driving habits and being responsible with their newfound independence. Frequent dialogue with your teens and some helpful information from NHTSA can go a long way in making your teen driver into an adult driver before you know it.


About John Fagan

John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981. John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder. In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home. John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation. Professional Activities John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. Service to the Community John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
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