This National Teen Driver Safety Week, Talk to Your Teens About Safe Driving
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), reminds all young drivers to focus on the road to help increase safety for everyone. Oct. 17-23 is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and it is a great time for California parents to talk to their teenagers about how to travel safely behind the wheel.
The greatest dangers for teen drivers are alcohol consumption, not wearing a seat belt, distracted driving, speeding, and driving with passengers in the vehicle. For National Teen Driver Safety Week, parents are encouraged to have conversations with their teens about the important rules they need to follow to stay safe.
According to the California Highway Patrol:
- Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among teens 16-19 years old.
- A teen driver was determined to be at fault in approximately 66 percent of those crashes.
“All of us can play a role in helping to bring these numbers down by encouraging teens to practice safe driving habits and stay focused on the road,” said ABC Director Eric Hirata.
According to the NHTSA, 1,885 young drivers died in traffic crashes in 2020, a 17 percent increase from 2019. Parents can be the biggest influencers on teens’ driving habits if they take the time to talk with their teens about some of the biggest driving risks. To help reduce 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 2020, 29 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had alcohol in their system, and 88 percent of those involved exceeded a .08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). The number of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes with alcohol in their system has nearly doubled since 2017, according to figures from NHTSA.
- 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 – 52% of teen passenger vehicle drivers who died in 2020 were unbuckled.
- Distracted Driving: Cell phone use while driving is not only dangerous, but it is also illegal. Distracted driving accounted for seven percent of all teen motor vehicle crashes in 2020. 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 2020, fatal crashes involving teens 15 to 20 were speeding more than any other demographic.
- 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), 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-related car crashes. The Minor Decoy and Shoulder Tap Programs reduce youth access to alcohol by performing compliance checks on licensees and the public to ensure they don’t furnish alcohol to underage youth.
For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and to learn safe driving tips to share with your teens, visit NHTSA’s website.