Parents of teenage drivers, lend me your ear, this week is offically Safe Teen Driving Week. Recent statistics show that teenage accidents on our highways have been steadily increasing since 2005. Many of these injuries can be avoid or seriously lessened.
The CDC reports that young people ages 15-24 represent only 14% of the U.S. population. However, they account for 30% ($19 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% ($7 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among females.2
In my own state of Florida statics show that motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens.
Unfortunately many of these injuries can be dramatically reduced by simple means, such as wearing your seatbelt. Updated data shows that 64% of youth 15 – 20 who die in crashes are not wearing seatbelts. Recently in upstate New York an 18 year old female was fatally injured, while the three remaining passengers were seriously injured. The driver of that vehicle was a teenage male, it is reported that no passengers wore seatbelts.
I can personally remember that as a young driver I myself did not use that life saving tool every time I stepped into my car, it just wasn’t cool. In my youth seatbelt usage was optional, it was not until my own experience in which thank God I was wearing a seat belt it saved me great pain. It was then that I discovered “hey it really does work", and cool was no longer going beltless. I have been sold ever since then.
Sadly this does not happen for all teens, many teens may not get that eye opening epiphany I had, but some will, so it is my job to encourage you and make sure your teenager does. As a parent it is very important to constantly emphasize the use of seatbelts by your teen. Unless you are persistent they will not get it so encourage them gently and learn to practice what you preach (it gives your argument more oomph) and continue to bring home the importance of wearing a seat belt. In the long run it just may save a life.