5 safety tips for parents to share with teens about driving

Staff report

COLUMBUS – National Teen Driving Safety Week is October 18-24, and state of Ohio officials are reminding parents to talk to their teen drivers about the rules of the roads.

Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor and John Born, Director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, which includes the Ohio State Highway Patrol, said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “5 to Drive” campaign will give parents the tools they need to keep their teen drivers safe.

“Parents that take the time to set concrete rules for their teen drivers are helping their young loved ones stay safer on the road,” said Taylor, also Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “This important campaign highlights common deadly choices being made by teen drivers and provides tools to assist parents in specifically discussing them with their teen driver.”

The “5 to Drive” campaign addresses the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers. The idea behind NHTSA’s campaign is to give parents the words to use when they talk with their teens about the rules of the roads. NHTSA’s website, www.safercar.gov/parents, has detailed information and statistics about the five rules designed to help save the lives of teen drivers.

The “5 to Drive” rules for parents to share with their teen are:

* No Drinking and Driving – almost one out of five (19 percent) of the young drivers (15 to 19 years old) involved in fatal crashes had been drinking, even though they were too young to legally buy or possess alcohol.

* Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back. – 64 percent of all the young (13- to 19-year-old) passengers of teen (15- to 19-year-old) drivers who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2013 weren’t restrained.

* Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All. – The age group of 15 to 19 years old has the highest percentage of drivers who were distracted by cell phone use and involved in a fatal crash. In 2013, 156 people were killed in crashes that involved a distracted teen driver.

* Stop Speeding Before It Stops You – In 2013, almost one-third (29 percent) of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding.

* No More Than One Passenger at a Time. – The risk of a fatal crash goes up with each additional passenger.

“Through continuous education, enforcement and awareness efforts, we are committed to keeping our young drivers safe,” Director Born said. “The “5 to Drive” can help parents establish rules and explain to their teens the deadly consequences of unsafe driving practices, ultimately contributing to a safer Ohio.”

Young drivers who are 15 to 19 years old were involved in about 15 percent (128,349) of all traffic crashes from 2012-2014. Of those crashes, a teen driver was at-fault 73 percent of the time. These crashes resulted in 282 fatalities and 41,311 injuries.

“Because they possess less experience behind the wheel, teen drivers are at a higher risk of injury or death than older drivers,” said Colonel Paul A. Pride, Patrol superintendent. “It’s important to remind them to be aware of their surroundings and focused on safety while driving.”

Teen drivers need to follow these rules and any other restrictions outlined in Ohio’s graduated driver licensing (GDL) law (http://bmv.ohio.gov/graduated_dl_teen_laws.stm).

To secure adequate insurance protection for their teen driver, parents should conduct a thorough insurance review with an agent. Having a teen driver in the household does affect the family’s auto insurance premium. The type of vehicle a teen driver uses can impact the cost of insurance. Most insurance companies offer discounts for having more than one car on a policy or having both your auto and homeowner’s insurance with the same company.

Ohioans with insurance questions can call the Ohio Department of Insurance consumer hotline at 800-686-1526. An auto insurance consumer guide and young drivers guide to auto insurance are available at www.insurance.ohio.gov.

Staff report