Immaturity, inexperience and distractions are
primary factors contributing to deadly motor
vehicle crashes by young drivers. A safety
initiative next week will focus on those issues.
National Teen Driver Safety Week,
October 14-20, offers parents and
others an opportunity to remind the nation’s
youngest drivers about the risks of the road and
to not drive distracted. This year’s theme is
“Drive by the Rules. Keep the Privileges.”
“All drivers can be distracted by cell phones,
adjusting the radio, using a navigation system,
CD player or digital music device,” said
Margaret Goertz, youthful driver program
coordinator with the Idaho Transportation
Department’s Office of Highway Safety.
“Unfortunately, it is our most inexperienced
drivers – teenagers – who are the most likely to
put themselves and others in harm’s way by
Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) shows that drivers
younger than 25 are two-to-three times more
likely than older drivers to send text messages
or e-mails while driving.
In 2010, 11 percent of all drivers younger
than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported
as being distracted at the time of the crash.
“This year’s safety campaign reminds teenagers
of highway safety laws, encourages safe driving
practices, and helps inform parents and friends
of ways they can help their teens be safer
drivers,” Goertz explained.
ITD provides young drivers and their parents an
online resource that supports the practice of
safe driving among young adults and a way to
learn more about responsible driving.
www.idahoteendriving.org, includes resource
links and information about safe driving for
teenage drivers, young adult drivers, parents
and even children who eventually might become
ITD statistics show more than 62,000 licensed
drivers ages 15-19 for 2011. Last year, nearly
one out of every five crashes statewide involved
a driver from that age group.
Inattention or distractions, failure to yield
and speeding are the top three contributors to
motor vehicle crashes in Idaho.
“The aim of Idaho Teen Driving is to encourage
safe driving among young adults, educate them
about risky driving behaviors, and eliminate
their chances of being in a crash,” Goertz
explained. “One way to help your teenager is to
encourage registering for an Alive at 25 class.”
The website provides links to the Alive at 25
classes taught throughout the state by law
Goertz encourages parents to provide their
teenage drivers with clear rules and
consequences when operating a motor vehicle,
like always wear seat belts, no cell phone use
while driving, no alcohol or drugs, no more than
one passenger at all times and having the car in
the driveway by 10 p.m.