TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Nearly 2,500 teens aged 16 to 19 were killed in U.S. motor vehicle crashes in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2,433 total means crashes caused the deaths of six teens every day.
To help lower those numbers and help protect teen drivers, law enforcement officers and first responders across the U.S. are reminding parents this week of ways to keep your young driver safe on the road.
The first thing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends parents do is talk to their kids about driving. They say it is important to discuss the obvious dangers such as speeding or not wearing a seat belt along with the not so obvious dangers such as distractions caused by friends riding in the car and drowsy driving.
NHTSA also recommends setting guidelines for their kids for things like distracted driving and discussing the consequences of driving under the influence.
Tucson police say distracted driving is a huge problem with teen drivers, especially texting while driving. The numbers back that up. According to NHTSA, one in three teens admit to texting while driving.
All of those dangers create a potentially hefty cost and concern for parents, according to the CDC. In 2016, teens aged 15 to 19 accounted for an estimated $13.6 billion (or 8.4 percent) of the total costs from motor vehicle injuries.
Tucson-area mom Kathy Juell says she’s doing what she can to combat the dangers of the road with her 16-year-old daughter who’s learning to drive by talking with her often about mistakes they see on the road.
“We talk about it ... while we’re driving, whenever we see somebody do something, and I’ll say, ‘Hey, what did they do wrong?’ or, ‘Hey, what should do I here?’ Or, you know, should I stop, should I go?” she said.
It’s that sort of conversation that the NHTSA says can save lives and keep your teen safe.