CDOT recognizes National Teen Driver Safety Week
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the country, and the United States Department of Transportation is teaming up with state agencies to help bring awareness to the issue.
To help educate teens and parents across the country about teen driving dangers, the United States Congress established National Teen Driver Safety Week in 2007 hoping to create an annual week of awareness. The week runs from Oct. 20-26.
“When teens receive their driver’s licenses, the first year of driving is the most dangerous,” CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew said in a news release. “But restrictions placed on those new drivers have contributed to nearly a 50% reduction in traffic fatalities involving young drivers over the last 20 years, which is very good news. We must continue to educate teens and their parents about these restrictions if we want to continue to see such positive results.”
In Colorado, the number of young drivers involved in fatal crashes has fallen by almost half over the past two decades, though that trend has started to move in the wrong direction in the past two years. Colorado averaged 64 young drivers involved in fatal crashes per year from 2005 through 2016. In 2017 and 2018, the average jumped to 86 fatalities, a 34% increase.
According to CDOT, parents are the biggest influencers on teens’ choices behind the wheel. CDOT recommends all parents discuss key tenants of Colorado’s Graduated Driver License Law with their teenage drivers. The law affects teens younger than 18, forbidding other passengers under 21 years old for the first six months of licensure and allowing only one passenger after six months until the end of the first year. Additionally, the law bans the use of cellphones, makes not wearing a seat belt a primary traffic offense and requires occupants in the back seat to buckle up, too.
To further educate teens about the law, CDOT is helping to push out informative videos called “GDL Resale” depicting short scenarios with parents offering their teen’s car for sale as a consequence of not abiding by the law. The videos ran on social media last month, and are available on CDOT’s website at codot.gov/safety/colorado-teen-drivers/gdl-resale. For more teen driving tips and resources, visit coteendriver.com.
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