SACRAMENTO – The role that parents and guardians play as their child’s first teacher is crucial when it comes to driving. During National Teen Driver Safety Week, Oct. 20-26, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) joins the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to help parents discuss driving safety with their young drivers.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens 15-18 years old in the United States, ahead of all other types of injury, disease, and violence. Nationwide in 2017, there were 2,247 people killed in crashes involving a driver aged 15-18. In California, 77 people were killed in crashes involving drivers aged 15-18.
“Their lack of experience alone makes teen drivers a potential danger to themselves and others,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “Talk to your teen drivers about safe driving habits and keep the conversation going.”
Discussions about safe driving include avoiding distractions such as cell phones, using seat belts, obeying speed limits, not driving impaired, and limiting the number of passengers. Parents and guardians must be aware that their own driving behavior, following the same rules, is as important as any conversation they could have with their teen.
“It will take all of us—educators, law enforcement, parents, and community leaders—to change the driving culture to one that is distraction-free,” Dr. Kelly Browning, Executive Director of Impact Teen Drivers (ITD), said. “By combining quality education and enforcement in a multi- faceted approach, we can stop the number one killer of teens in America—100 percent preventable car crashes.”
In addition to its participation in the ITD program, the CHP provides education to help keep teen drivers alive in its Start Smart course, offered at all CHP offices free of charge. Participating in Start Smart will help parents and guardians learn how to effectively discuss the importance of driving safety with their young drivers. Start Smart also teaches the responsibilities of newly licensed drivers, the Graduated Driver License program, and collision-avoidance techniques.
The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.