NHTSA’s national safety campaign hopes to reduce teen driving fatalities in SF County

In October, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed a new campaign focusing on reducing the alarming number of teens who are fatality injured in car accidents across America. For teens between the ages of 14 and 18 years old, the number of one cause of death in the U.S. is listed as motor vehicle accidents. In California alone, nearly 500 drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 years old were killed in auto accidents in 2011. This is nearly 25 percent of all car accident fatalities recorded in California, reported by NHTSA. The "5 to Drive" campaign encourages parents to address five essential driving issues with their teenage driver, in attempts to educate them on safe driving practices. The campaign also focuses on instructing teens on what they should do if an accident should occur.

Campaign topics

The "5 to Drive" campaign has taken key safety components and incorporated them into a list of topics parents and teachers should discuss with their teenage drivers.

  • Speeding: Whether they are in a hurry to get to the football game or they are late to class, teens have a higher tendency to exceed the posted speed limit. Informing them of the repercussions of this behavior may prove to be helpful.
  • Extra passengers: Driving with a carload of friends is extremely dangerous. For teens, the risk of being involved in an accident increases with every passenger they have in their car.
  • Seat belts: Buckling up is one of the most important things you do before you set out on the road. Most states have safety programs, such as "Click It or Ticket" that urge drivers to take a few seconds to buckle up.
  • Cell phone use: Nearly 3,400 people were killed in 2012 due to distracted driving. Many of those accidents were caused by talking or texting on a cell phone while driving.
  • Alcohol: Many states have campaigns which encourage teens to determine a designated driver before drinking; however, experts agree that parental involvement plays a large role in deterring drinking and driving.

Making sure teen drivers are familiar in these areas can drastically reduce their risk of falling victim to a car accident.

Ways teens are at risk

There's no question that teens are at a higher risk for being involved in a car accident. There are multiple reasons for this including:

  • Although all states have a Zero Tolerance policy when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol, teens continue to get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
  • A whopping 35 percent of accidents were caused by a teenage driver exceeding the posted speed limits.
  • Drivers and passengers of all ages are being killed from not wearing the proper seatbelt restraints.
  • Distracted driving, such as talking on a cell phone or texting while driving, continues to kill teen drivers at an alarming rate.

While many teens take a driver's education program previous to receiving their driver's license, it doesn't necessarily mean that they have been taught essential safety material. Parents can help by taking an active role in their teen's education to ensure they are learning the proper rules of the road.

Legal representation

If you have been involved in an automobile accident in California, it is important to call a professional right away in order to preserve your legal rights. You may be eligible to receive compensation for medical injuries, property damage, time lost from work and suffering you have experienced due to the accident. A reputable personal injury attorney can help to maximize your compensation and put you back on the path to recovery.