Let’s Keep California Teen Drivers Safe Behind the Wheel
National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 17-23
Sacramento – The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), in partnership with the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is reminding all young motorists to focus on the road to help increase safety for everyone. This week, October 17-23, is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and it is a great time for California teenagers and parents to talk to one another about how teenagers can travel safely on the roads, streets, and highways.
The greatest dangers for teen drivers are alcohol consumption, inconsistent or no seat belt use, distracted driving, speeding, and driving with passengers in the vehicle. This week – and every week, parents should have conversations with their teens about the important rules they need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
According to the California Highway Patrol:
- California teen motor vehicle fatalities (age 15-19) increased from 58 in 2019 to 73 in 2020.
“All of us can play a role in helping to bring these tragic numbers down by encouraging teens to practice safe driving habits and really focus on the road,” says ABC Director Eric Hirata.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15-18 years old) in the United States. In 2019, there were 2,042 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver, of which 628 deaths were the teen driver.
Parents can be the biggest influencers on teens’ choices behind the wheel if they take the time to talk with their teens about some of the biggest driving risks. To help reduce the risks for teen drivers follow these basic rules:
- Impaired Driving: All teens are too young to legally buy, possess, or consume alcohol. However, nationally in 2017, 15 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had alcohol in their system.
- Seat Belt Safety: Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways for teens to stay safe in a vehicle. Yet too many teens aren’t buckling up.
- Distracted Driving: Cell phone use while driving is more than just illegal, it can be deadly. Drivers under 18 are not allowed to use a phone for any reason, including hands-free.
- Speed Limits: Speeding is a critical issue for all drivers, especially for teens. In 2017, more than one-quarter (27 percent) of all teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash.
- Passengers: The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers.
OTS funds multiple ABC programs designed to help keep California youth safe including Target Responsibility for Alcohol Connected Emergencies (TRACE), Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (LEAD), Informed Merchants Preventing Alcohol-Related Crime Tendencies (IMPACT), Minor Decoy, and Shoulder Tap Decoy operations that are used to reduce youth access to alcohol. TRACE involves in-depth ABC investigations of serious incidents involving alcohol and minors, including car crashes. IMPACT is a program used by ABC to educate licensees, increase compliance with alcoholic beverage laws, and help prevent underage drinking. The LEAD program educates businesses on laws involving the sale and service of alcoholic beverages.
For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and to learn safe driving tips to share with your teens, visit NHTSA’s website.
The mission of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is to provide the highest level of service and public safety to the people of the State through licensing, education, and enforcement.
ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.