The Office of Traffic and Highway Safety kicked off National Teen Driver Safety week on Sunday. Click to hear KMZU’s Chelsea Wade speak with Youth Coordinator Carrie Wolken:
National Teen Driver Safety Week is meant to bring awareness to safe driving habits. Wolken said 66 percent of teens don’t wear their seat belts. 81 teens were killed in Missouri traffic crashes in 2011. Of those, 79 percent were not wearing their seat belts.
Press Release from the Missouri Department of Transportation
JEFFERSON CITY – Fall is an extremely busy time for teenagers. Not only does it mean the return of homework and exams, it means sports and band practices, club meetings, football games, homecoming dances and many other extracurricular activities that fill their social calendars and put them back on the roads. Unfortunately though, too many teens get caught up in the hustle and bustle and aren’t buckling up when they get behind the wheel or ride with others in motor vehicles.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of fatalities among 16- to 20-year olds in the United States. In 2011 there were 81 teen vehicle occupants killed in Missouri traffic crashes, with 79 percent being unbelted. Eighteen percent of the unbelted teens who were killed were teen impaired drivers.
“So many of those tragedies could be prevented, if only teens would take the time to buckle up,” reminds Leanna Depue, executive committee chair of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. “Seat belt usage reduces the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent.
Teen drivers are more likely to drive distracted or substance-impaired than other drivers. Under Missouri law, drivers age 21 and under are banned from texting while driving, and can be fined up to $200 for this offense. Missouri also has a Zero Tolerance Law. If you are under 21, your license will be suspended if you’re caught driving with even a trace of alcohol in your system.
So as you head out to those fun fall festivities, please remember these simple safe driving tips:
· Keep distractions to a minimum.
· Obey the laws of the road.
· Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
· Buckle Up. It’s your best defense in any automobile accident.
For more information on teen driver safety, go to saveMOlives.com. ARRIVE ALIVE.