Teens are Ready for Summer Break but Are They Ready for Summer Driving?

By US Daily Review Staff.

According to the most recent data, over 1,000 youth were killed on our nation’s highway during the summer of 2010 and preliminary numbers for 2011 are not looking any better. It’s that time of year when young people get to enjoy the wondrous summer break.  They are ready for tans, summer jobs, beach trips, more free time, and all of the extra activities summer brings.  But with all of this fun comes some very sobering news.  Teens are now entering the deadliest months on our nation’s highways for young people. The 2010 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data revealed that during the summer of 2010 we lost an average of 45 youth every weekend in motor vehicle crashes. This data also revealed summer was the deadliest season for U.S. youth with July as the most devastating month where we lost 364 youth ages 15-20 in traffic crashes.

Youth are joining forces around the country in May to put a stop to these sad statistics.  As the May campaign, National Youth Traffic Safety Month® rallies youth to get involved to promote traffic safety for the summer months, youth are calling their peers to Act Out Loud® for youth traffic safety and take a pledge to make this the safest summer ever.  This campaign led by the National Organizations for Youth Safety®(NOYS) Coalition supports youth leading the way to message to their peers to enjoy a safe, fun summer. The U.S. Senate is supporting these efforts and has introduced a resolution led by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, WV recognizing National Youth Traffic Safety Month.

Everyone who travels on our highways shares the road with these young drivers and supporting their safety is supporting safety for all.  Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Senator John D. Rockefeller IVstated, “Preventing risky behavior that can result in tragic crashes is something that everyone should take seriously. Too many young lives are cut short due to drunk driving, distracted driving, and the failure to use seat belts.  More and more people realize that a text or phone call is never worth risking a deadly crash. In recognition of National Youth Traffic Safety Month, I encourage all young drivers and passengers to focus on safety.  With advances in vehicle safety and greater awareness of safe driving behaviors, driver fatalities have been steadily decreasing.  We can prevent the loss of young lives in traffic crashes by working in our communities to prevent dangerous driving practices,” Rockefeller said.

“These tragic crashes and statistics are preventable and it is time we all work together to put an end to summer breaks that end in loss and pain for families of young drivers.  The National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) Coalition leads this annual campaign with national youth organizations, federal and state leaders, and business and industry partners. Together these groups supporting and promoting youth efforts will save lives and prevent injuries,” said Sandy Spavone, NOYS executive director.

Youth leaders of national organizations are recognizing and thanking leaders who have made a difference and are leading the way to support youth traffic safety by presenting them with 2012 National Youth Traffic Safety Month Youth Choice Awards.  These youth are presenting awards to legislative leaders including U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Senator Rockefeller, Senator Hutchison, Senator Thune, Senator Gillibrand; business and industry leaders including The Allstate Foundation and AT&T; and national non-profit youth organization Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).  A rally will be held at Senate Park in Washington, D.C. on May 8 to celebrate the work of youth and these leaders as well as launching the campaign in several sites across the U.S.

“We’re proud to support the work of NOYS, and honored to work alongside its leaders to save young lives and amplify youth voices calling for safety on the road,” said Charlene Lake, chief sustainability officer and senior vice president. “As more teens head to the roads this summer, we urge them to be aware of the risks to their lives. We’ve designed a toolkit of information – including a documentary we hope teens will watch with their friends and parents – and are asking teens to take an official pledge to not text and drive. We’re committed to this cause. When it comes to texting and driving … it can wait.”

Tips for Parents and Teens

Limit Passengers – most states limit how many passengers a young driver can have in their car. Adults can help by understanding these limits, providing rides to events, and monitoring youth coming or leaving activities at your home or event.

Limit Nighttime Driving – most states have young driver curfews – these are still enforced for summer too! Help teens get around after curfew by providing rides for them.

Limit Distractions – distractions can include too many passengers, young siblings, eating, changing radio stations, and of course phone use.  When in the driver’s seat and the car is in drive we all (teens and adults) should do nothing else other than driving – it’s that simple – just drive!

Limit Speed – driving too fast can end in devastating results, it may seem like the cool thing to do – but the families and loved ones we share the road with are counting on us to drive safely.  Follow the speed limits and safely share the road. Resources are available for parents to help monitor speed and hard braking. These simple tools can make the difference between knowing and thinking your teen is driving safely. More information on resources for parents is available athttp://www.underyourinfluence.org

Do NOT Drive Impaired – drinking age limits protect more than just teens, they protect all of us who share the roads with them.  According to a report from the U.S. Public Health Service’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) more than half of teenage drinkers obtain alcohol from someone over the age of 21, the report shows. Twenty-six percent of those adults are parents or family members. Set the example by never providing alcohol to anyone under 21 and never driving impaired.

Although summer statistically is the most dangerous time on the road for youth, teens are saying enough is enough and let’s all enjoy summer and stay safe on the roads.  Corporations are supporting efforts through new research, youth-led contests, and new resources that improve safety.  Youth around the country will be rallying on May 8 to launch the National Youth Traffic Safety Month campaign.  To find a rally or youth group in your area, contact NOYS at info@noys.org.

According to a statement,”National Organizations for Youth Safety® (NOYS) is a coalition of national organizations and federal agencies who serve youth and focus on youth safety and health. Through this coalition, NOYS influences more than 80 million young people and their adult advisors.  The mission of NOYS is to promote youth empowerment and leadership, and build partnerships that save lives, prevent injuries, and enhance safe and healthy lifestyles among all youth.”

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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