CHP Launches Program to Curb Teen Crash Fatalities in California
The California Highway Patrol is teaming up with Impact Teen Drivers to teach and reinforce positive driving habits to teens through education. According to a Patch.com news report, California loses the equivalent of eight large school buses filled with teenagers each year to car accidents. The CHP’s partnership with Impact Teen Drivers aims to teach young people positive driving habits and behaviors statewide through virtual classes as well as enforcement.
Teen Distracted Driving is a Problem
CHP’s statistics show that 10% of all drivers 15 to 19 who died in car accidents were found to have been distracted at the time. All of those accidents were preventable. Based on the miles driven, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. Teen drivers are the most at risk for driving while distracted. They are also more likely than any other age group to be involved in car accidents where distracted driving is a factor.
CHP and Impact Teen Drivers will begin offering virtual classes at schools and at community events throughout the state during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will have education and enforcement components. The initiative is funded by a yearlong Teen Distracted Drivers Education and Enforcement X grant provided from the Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Tips to Prevent Distracted Driving
Here are a few valuable tips to help prevent teen distracted driving:
- Education: Teens should be made aware of what constitutes driving distractions. Cell phones, texting, using social media, email, eating, changing music, talking to find passengers and trying to look for something in the car while driving – all constitute distractions. Teens should know what actions to avoid while driving.
- Laying down the rules: Parents should set strict driving and phone rules for their teens. Parents may want to limit their teen’s screen time to certain times of day if they will be driving.
- Being a good role model: Parents should be good role models and walk the talk by putting away their phones while driving and paying attention to the road.
- Other passengers: Teens should also be strictly instructed that they are not to ferry other passengers when they drive. This is one of the leading causes of crashes involving teens where distraction is a factor.