RALEIGH -Car crashes are the leading cause of death for 14-18 year olds in North Carolina. In an effort to save young lives, the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Governor's Highway Safety Program are partnering during National Teen Driver Safety Week, which starts Sunday, to educate teens about the top five ways they can stay safe behind the wheel.
"Teen drivers ages 16-20 comprise just 7 percent of the population in North Carolina, yet they accounted for 13 percent of all crashes and 9 percent of fatal crashes last year," said GHSP Director Don Nail. "In order to bring those numbers down to zero, we ask parents to help emphasize our safety messages and teens to follow the rules of the road."
National Teen Driver Safety Week seeks to boost teen driver safety by challenging parents to engage their teens in ongoing discussion about critical driving practices that could prevent them from being involved in a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "5 to Drive" campaign addresses the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers.
The "5 to Drive" rules are:
No Drinking and Driving.
Buckle Up. Every Seat. Every Time.
Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.
Stop Speeding Before It Stops You.
No More than One Passenger at a Time.
GHSP encourages teens and their parents to visit Safety City at the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh to learn firsthand about driving safety and interact with many of the "5 to Drive" elements. At Safety City, fairgoers can tour GHSP's Breath Alcohol Testing (BAT) Mobile Unit, ride in seatbelt convincers that simulate a crash at 5-7 mph, and see the aftermath of a distracted driving crash.
Safety City is located behind Dorton Arena and open each day from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. All activities and materials are free of charge.
In 2012, young drivers 16-20 years old were involved in 45,517 crashes in North Carolina. Young male drivers were involved in 53 percent of those crashes. Of the fatal crashes involving 16-20 year old drivers and passengers, 60 percent were not wearing their seatbelts, which is why GHSP reminds everyone that it is North Carolina law to buckle up -every seat, every time.
National Teen Driver Safety Week begins Oct. 19 and runs through Oct. 25. For more information about it and NHTSA's "5 to Drive" campaign, visit http://www.safercar.gov/parents/fivetodrive.htm.