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KRUSE REPORT: Preparing our Students for the Road
Start Date: 11/19/2012Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 11/19/2012End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description

By State Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn)

Soon enough, winter will be here, bringing snow and ice along with it. Harsh winter weather often presents a challenge to even the most experienced drivers, making typically safe roads slick and icy.

Teenagers particularly struggle in difficult driving conditions. According to State Farm Insurance and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, teens are almost 10 times more likely to be in a crash during their first year on the road. Unfortunately, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens in the United States.

Oftentimes, car accidents are a result of factors such as speeding, cell phone use, substance abuse and other distractions. When considering teens have the lowest seat belt use rates of any age group, the consequences of these accidents can be deadly.

This winter, I encourage parents to talk to their children about driver safety. Here are some topics to think about before beginning that conversation:

  • Distracted Driving: Current data on crashes involving 16-year-old drivers indicates that having multiple teenage passengers in a car makes a fatal accident twice as likely as alcohol-impaired driving. In fact, 90 percent of surveyed teens have seen passenger behavior that distracted a driver.

Make sure your students understand the dangers of distracted driving, and encourage them to be responsible when getting in a car with their friends.

  • Cell Phone Use: The United State Department of Transportation reported cell phones are involved in 1.6 million auto crashes each year, causing a half million injuries and taking 6,000 lives. Nine out of 10 teens reported it was common to see their friends driving while talking on cell phones. Texting and driving is just as dangerous. According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an auto crash than driving while intoxicated.

Promote good driving habits by avoiding the use of cell phones while driving, and talk to your children about doing the same.

  • Speeding: This is a common problem among new drivers who are not comfortable in their cars yet. For some drivers, however, speeding is not an accident. Nearly half of teens reported seeing passengers encouraging drivers to speed at least sometimes, and half of teen drivers reported driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit at least sometimes.

Ensure your teen understands the risks of this reckless driving before getting behind the wheel of a car.

  • Seat Belt Use: State Farm reported only 65 percent of teens consistently wear their seat belts as both a driver and passenger, and six out of 10 drivers ages 16 to 20 who were killed in car accidents were unrestrained. While seat belt use may seem like a trivial thing to many teen drivers, it can mean the difference between life and death.

Encourage the teen drivers you know to keep themselves and their friends safe by abiding by Indiana seat belt laws.

  • Substance Abuse: While consuming alcohol under the age of 21 can have negative consequences in any setting, it is particularly dangerous when teens drink and drive. Fifty-three percent of surveyed teens reported seeing substance use behind the wheel of a car at least sometimes.

Talk to your kids about avoiding drugs and alcohol, and discourage them from getting in a car with someone who has been abusing these substances.

Teaching your teenagers how to drive can be a challenge, but talking to them about safety can make the process a bit easier. I encourage all parents to talk to their children about driving, especially as the winter weather approaches. Be sure to listen to their thoughts and ask them, “What do you think?”

Contact Information:
Name: Tracy Lytwyn
Phone: 317-234-9221
Email: tlytwyn@iga.in.gov
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Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • IN.gov Category:
  • Education & Training
  • Agency Name
    Senate Republican Caucus

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