10/24/11 In an effort to help educate young drivers and their parent about the importance of teen driving safety, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute’s (ICJI) Traffic Safety division encourages parents to talk with their teens about the risks and responsibilities of being a driver this week.
According to 2010 crash data, young drivers in Indiana were generally more likely to have lost control and been distracted while in a collision than older drivers. Teen drivers were also more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors, such as following other vehicles too closely and speeding.
In a nationwide survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, nearly half of the teens they interviewed had ridden in a vehicle with a driver who texted. A third of those surveyed admitted that they themselves had texted behind the wheel.
“It’s important for parents and teens to understand Indiana’s Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) law and how it applies to them,” said ICJI Traffic Safety Division Director, Ryan Klitzsch. “For instance, new drivers are prohibited from driving with passengers within the first 180 days of holding a license,” he continued, “this is because a young driver with two passengers is nearly twice as likely to be involved in a crash then if they were driving alone.”
While the total number of drivers involved in Indiana motor vehicle crashes has marginally decreased since 2006, those declines were most pronounced among teen drivers. Indiana’s implementation of the GDL system in July 2009 and 2010 is largely credited for that reduction. However, despite these additional safeguards, there were still more than 45,000 crashes involving young drivers (ages 15-20) in the Hoosier state last year.
During this year’s Teen Driver Safety Week (October 16 – 22), Hoosier parents are strongly encouraged to take some time to reinforce the importance of safe driving with their teens.
For more information about Indiana GDL requirements and tips for teen driver safety, visit http://www.in.gov/cji/2553.htm.
National Teen Driver Safety Week is observed annually during the third week of October. Its mission is to bring teens, community leaders, educators, and parents together to take action and increase awareness to help prevent teen crashes, the leading cause of death for American teens.