This week is “National Teen Driver Safety Week”, which calls to our attention a very important topic. As inexperienced drivers begin their learning, it is important that teens are aware of vital safety information. Stressing a few key responsibilities to your teen driver before they get behind the wheel could be a potentially life-saving conversation. The Four “Do Nots” should be at the forefront of any drivers mind. Below, the Four “Do Nots” are listed, along with a collection of statistics and audio-visuals to stress the importance of each of these rules to your teenage driver.
The Four “Do Nots”:
1. Do Not Text and Drive-
Texting and driving is a truly serious matter that not only teens are guilty of. Texting while driving results in significant distraction from the road, and has become an increasingly popular issue. Not only does texting and driving put the lives of the drivers and any passengers at risk, but is also an incredibly selfish crime that threatens lives of other people on and around the roads. Though texting and driving can easily be “justified” as quick and harmless, it is in fact the exact opposite.
- Drivers engaged in text messaging while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash with a non-distracted driver (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2010).
- Driver Distraction is a factor in 4 million motor vehicle crashes in North America every year (CAA Distracted Driving).
- As of September 1st, 2015, cell phone use while driving in Ontario can result in fines of $490-$1000, and the loss of 3 demerit points (CAA Distracted Driving).
- Five seconds is the minimal amount of time attention is taken away from the road when looking at a cell phone. If you’re travelling at 55mph, this equals driving the length of a football field without looking at the road (textinganddrivingsafety.com).
- 77% of young adults are confident that they can safely text and drive (textinganddrivingsafety.com).
- Teens who text while driving spend approximately 10% of their driving time outside of their lane (textinganddrivingsafety.com).
If these statistics won’t keep your hands on the wheel, a few video resources are provided below:
2. Do Not Transport Yourself Or Others Without a Seatbelt-
When making a “quick trip”, the requirement of wearing a seatbelt is often dismissed. Seatbelt’s are imperative when getting behind the wheel or inviting anyone into your vehicle. Seatbelt’s are designed to prevent those in the vehicle to fly forward or out of their seats upon impact. In addition to ensuring oneself is fastened securely, drivers are responsible for ensuring each of their passengers are also buckled. The exclusion of “extra passengers” is also crucial when ensuring everyone has a seatbelt. An “extra passenger” is any person in the automobile whom exceeds the seating capacity of the vehicle and is therefore present without a seatbelt. Making an extra trip home from an event, or arranging to have enough seats for the passengers saves lives. All too often teen drivers assume that carrying an extra passenger will have no consequences, and prefer to stack and squeeze passengers to save time. This is a crime that must be avoided for the safety of everyone in the vehicle.
- Drivers transporting passengers under 16 years of age without a seatbelt while the car is in motion may face a fine of $200 to $1000, and will suffer the loss of two demerit points.
- When used correctly, wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45%, and reduces risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50% (edgarsnyderandassociates.com).
Below are a few video resources that illustrate seatbelt importance:
3. Do Not Exceed the Speed Limit
This “Do Not” is an obvious rule to many, but goes unfollowed by many more. Speed limits are carefully designed to compensate for road conditions in any given area such as corners, bumps, or traffic flow, and always have the best interests of the driver in mind. Speed limits are clearly marked on each road, however they become more of a “guideline” to some. Exceeding the speed limit has countless consequences beyond a simple traffic ticket or loss of demerit points. Speeding drastically increases chances of losing control, chances of single or multi-vehicle collisions, and decreases reaction time provided an unexpected obstacle presents itself. When you’re late for work and it seems so necessary to “put the petal to the metal”, stop to think about the threat you now pose to yourself, others in the car, and others on the road.
A sampling of common obstacles speeding prevents the driver from avoiding include:
- Wildlife crossing
- Distracted drivers
- Construction Zones
- School Zones
- Turning vehicles ahead
In Ontario, fines for speeding just 16-29km over the speed limit can result in the loss of three demerit points, and speeding 30-50km over the set limit may result in the loss of four demerit points, a 30 day suspension of licence for G1 and G2 drivers, and a 100% insurance increase.
“Stunt Driving” or “Racing” is inclusive for those driving 50km over the set speed limit, and may result in the loss of six demerit points, immediate seven-day licence suspension and vehicle impound, a further one-year licence suspension, a fine of $2000-$10,000, up to six months of jail time, and a 100% insurance rate increase. (ontariotraffictickets.com).
4. Do Not Drive Impaired-
Teen drivers often think they can “handle” driving while under the influence, some even going as far as allowing others to be their passengers while they drive impaired. Drinking and driving, or driving under the influence of any other inhibitor, is a selfish act that can be fatal to both those inside your car and others on the road. Today, there are so many resources available for finding a safe ride home and avoiding impaired driving. Planning to use one of the many resources ahead of time will save the lives of many.
Below are a list of resources and tips to avoid impaired driving:
- Enter local taxi companies phone numbers into your “Contacts” list on your phone
- Have a plan to get a ride with a reliable adult in case of emergency
- Plan to stay the night
- Download “SaferRide” (free on the “App Store” for Android or iPhone), or one of the many other apps available to assist you in finding a safe ride home when you’re in need
- Always ensure your friends have a safe ride home
Below, see Budweiser’s drunk driving prevention ad:
The Four “Do Nots” can be life saving for your teen drivers. This National Teen Driver Safety Week, take the time to emphasize the responsibilities of getting behind the wheel with your young drivers. Help make the roads a safer place for everyone involved. Join us in celebrating National Teen Driver Safety Week all week long, and pass this information along.
Hutcheson, Reynolds & Caswell Ltd. Insurance Brokers