A Congressional resolution has designated the third week in October as National Teen Driver Safety Week. The bill, introduced by Pennsylvania Congressman Charlie Dent (R) and Senator Robert Casey (D) along with fifty cosponsors was introduced after several highly publicized auto accidents involving teen drivers. The bi-partisan bill passed both the House and the Senate and did not require Presidential approval.
Auto accidents are the leading cause of fatalities for teens, and teens are four times more likely to be involved in an accident than any other age group. Each year, nearly 7,500 teens are involved in fatal accidents. The Congressional resolution was intended to bring attention to the problem of teen fatalities due to auto accidents and to increase community-sponsored programs that will educate and provide training to teen drivers to increase their skill and reduce the likelihood that they will be involved in a fatal accident.
“The time has come for us to recognize this terrible problem by encouraging the development and communication of effective interventions that will help reduce accidents involving teen drivers and enable these beloved children to continue on to their destinations safely,” said Congressmen Dent. “This resolution designates a week where intensive programming will be used to encourage teens to drive more safely.”
In recent years, cell phones have become a major distraction for teen drivers, especially since the increased popularity of text messaging. Other factors in fatal teen auto accidents include speed, failure to use seat belts, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and other distractions such as multiple passengers in the car or eating.
State Farm Insurance and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are also supporters of Teen Driver Safety Week. They have formed an alliance to study teen drivers and the statistics derived from teen auto accidents. Their research has resulted in the publication of the document Driving: Through the Eyes of Teens. Driving: Through the Eyes of Teens is a comprehensive study of the habits of teen drivers, and is an excellent guide for parents who wish to talk to their teen about specific driving habits that need to be addressed in their household.
National Teen Driver Safety Week kicks off this year in the hopes of educating teen drivers so that injuries and fatalities related to careless driving and inexperience will subside in the years to come. Look for events in your area that highlight this important campaign and support organizations that are working to reduce auto accidents involving teenagers and young adults.