Michigan Looking to Combat Top Cause of Teen Death: Traffic Crashes

texting drivingParents need to know that the greatest risk to teenagers is a traffic crash and what they teach their young driver can help avoid a tragedy.

“The first six months of independent driving are the most dangerous that a driver will face in his or her lifetime,” said Safe Roads Alliance President Jeff Larason.

As part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is encouraging parents to be more involved in teaching their kids safe driving behaviors.

Crashes are the leading cause of death for 14-to-18-year-olds in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2013, 2,614 teen (15-to-19-year-old) drivers were involved in fatal crashes and an estimated 130,000 were injured. In nearly 6 out of 10 incidents, driver distraction was involved, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. A recent NHTSA survey showed that only 25 percent of parents have had a serious talk with their kids about the key components of driving.

The Michigan Secretary of State’s Office and The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program are promoting the NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” campaign as a way to combat teenage car crashes and keep the road safe.

“Even though your teen might be gaining independence and getting older, protecting them from harm shouldn’t stop,” said Johnson, herself a mother of a teenager. “The ‘5 to Drive’ campaign and The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program give parents the tools they need to keep their teen driver safe.”

teen driving driversThe campaign encourages parents to talk to their young drivers about five critical safe driving recommendations:

-No cell phones while driving
-No extra passengers who cause distractions
-No speeding
-No alcohol
-No driving or riding without a seat belt

Johnson has partnered with the national nonprofit group Safe Roads Alliance since 2013 to offer The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program, a comprehensive instructional tool aimed at helping parents coach their teens. Program guidebooks are given to parents of teens who receive a Level 1 Learner’s License. A free mobile app, RoadReady®, is also available to log the required minimum 50 hours of supervised driving time including 10 hours at night.

More information for parents is available at www.theparentssuperviseddrivingprogram.com and at www.safercar.gov/parents.