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Enhanced focus on young motorists during Teen Driver Safety Week

Ohio adult drivers are every bit as aware as are their peers nationally that the teen motorists amidst them constitute a somewhat special driving group.

Young drivers are immediately distinguished by certain things. Foremost and obviously, they are comparatively inexperienced, understandably lacking the same amount of time behind the wheel under varying driving conditions as more seasoned drivers. They are relatively immature, and that’s just a fact.

And many of them, in the words of NHTSA head David Strickland, have “a penchant for risk-taking” that is closely correlated with car accident outcomes and correspondingly high fatality rates.

Those notable characteristics — coupled with accident statistics and insurance data that absolutely prove them — have always made young drivers a closely tracked group.

Evidence of that continues this week, with Congress designating October 14 – 20 as National Teen Driver Safety Week.

What exactly does that mean, in practical terms?

For starters, it means figuratively driving home the point that young motorists merit the special attention. Nearly 2,000 of them died in car crashes across the country in 2010, with another 187,000 of them being injured in motor vehicle accidents. Ten percent of drivers involved in a fatal accident in that year were under the age of 20.

Safety regulators want to get the word out — and have it consistently noted — concerning tips for parents of teen drivers.

The recommendations are eminently straightforward. Know the graduated licensing laws for teens. Keep distracting mobile technology out of teens’ hands when they are driving. Curtail driving after dark, as well as the number of teen passengers in a vehicle.

And absolutely insist on these two things: Buckling up at all times and never drinking.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Traffic safety officials offer guidelines for safe teen driving,” Jerry Hirsch, Oct. 15, 2012

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