Digital Exclusive: Importance of safe driving for teens

Digital Exclusive

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – October 20 through October 26 but most importantly every week is when parents should have the conversation with their teens about staying safe when they’re driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens from 15 to 18-years-old in the United States.

KCAU 9 Digital spoke with Sgt. Jeremy McClure of the Sioux City Police Department about how teens can be safe on the road.

“Big things that teens can do to be safe on the road are slow down and eliminate distractions. Pay attention to where you’re at, where you’re going, and obey the traffic laws. Drive as safely as possible and as defensively as possible,” said Sgt. McClure.

The NTHSA says the greatest dangers for teen drivers are:

  • Alcohol – In the U.S. in 2017, 15% of teen drivers that were involved in fatal crashes had alcohol in their system.
  • Drugs – Like Marijuana; it affects a driver’s ability to react to their surroundings.
  • Not wearing a seat belt – The chance of surviving a traffic crash are 45% higher when properly wearing a seatbelt.
  • Distracted driving – Using cell phones, adjusting the radio, applying makeup, eating, drinking, or distractions from your passengers.
  • Speeding – In 2017, 27% of teen fatal car crashes were speeding, and males were more likely to involve than females.
  • Passengers – The risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of passengers in a car. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers.
  • Drowsy Driving – Teens compromise sleep when they are busy with studying, part-time jobs, spending time with friends, and extracurricular activities. It’s a dangerous habit that can lead to drowsy driving or falling asleep at the wheel.

In 2018, Iowa had 29 teen driver deaths in car crashes. Four were from having a blood alcohol level over the legal limit. Nine were from not wearing a seatbelt.

One way for teens and their parents to get information about safe driving is through their car insurance carrier.

“Your insurance carrier has some of the best resources for reducing risk. They have educational material and other resources that they can direct a young driver to help make them a better driver. It’s about safety and also improving their skills as a driver down the road,” Sgt. McClure added.

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