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Teen Driver Safety Week

Traffic collisions remain the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States and California. Each year, thousands of young drivers and their passengers are killed in collisions. To help bring awareness to this national problem, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will participate in National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 19 – 25, 2014.

“This week is dedicated to focusing attention on setting rules for your teen driver before letting them get behind the wheel,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “By setting these ground rules for new drivers early on, you can provide them with the information needed to become a safe driver and thus help to prevent future tragedies from ever happening.”

The CHP and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourage parents to use the following five rules to help their teens be safe behind the wheel:

  • Avoid distractions when behind the wheel, especially cell phones.
  • Be responsible with passengers in the car and do not allow them to hinder your ability to drive responsibly.
  • Follow the posted speed limit and never drive at a speed unsafe for the conditions of the roadway.
  • Never drink and drive or ride with a driver who has been drinking.
  • Always wear your seat belt and ensure your passengers are buckled up before hitting the road.

According to the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System for 2012, the most recent year that finalized data is available, there were more than 19,000 drivers between the ages of 16 to 19 involved in collisions in California. A teen driver was determined to be at fault in 66 percent of those collisions, which resulted in more than 140 people killed.

To address the issue, CHP partners with Impact Teen Drivers which endeavors to change the culture of teen driving through a nationwide educational program that confronts the dangers and consequences of reckless and distracted driving.

“We focus on teens because their inexperience places them at the greatest risk, and because they are forming life-long driving habits,” said Dr. Kelly Browning, Executive Director of Impact Teen Drivers. “But it is also important that we don’t lose sight of the fact that parents are the primary influencer of their teen’s driving habits. It will take all of us, educators, law enforcement, parents, and communities, to change the driving culture to one that is distraction-free.”

The CHP also offers a free Start Smart class as an opportunity to unite parents and teens in a two-hour driver safety education class that is available throughout the state. Parents or guardians are encouraged to contact their local CHP office for additional details and information on when classes are scheduled for both Start Smart and Impact Teen Drivers.

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