With an abundance of high school and college students in and around Jeffersonville, we well know that teenagers are often not as careful as they should be when they are behind the wheel. Sometimes they are reckless and sometimes they simply are not paying enough attention to signs, weather, traffic and road conditions.
Because this week is National Teen Driver Safety Week, parents, teachers, government and organizations are trying to get out the message that teens should slow down and pay attention to driving. The Governors Highway Safety Association says in a disturbing new report that teenaged drivers are 1.6 times more likely to be in motor vehicle crashes resulting in fatalities than adult drivers.
According to the report, teen-involved crash fatalities jumped 10 percent last year, reversing a decade-long downward trend.
Here in Indiana, we have graduated driver licensing, which has been shown to reduce the risk to teenagers of motor vehicle accidents by up to 30 percent. One little-discussed aspect of this method of granting driving privileges to young teens is that not all of them take advantage. About 1 in 3 teenagers are not licensed by the time they reach 18.
This means that when they do get their license, they do not go through the graduated steps of increased driving responsibility. If they're getting licensed in the 18-to-20 age group, they are often still lacking in maturity; a critical aspect of safe driving.
If you have a teenager in your home, please discuss with them the dangers of distracted driving this week and in coming weeks as well. In that way, you can help keep them safe, and reduce risks to their fellow motorists.