For parents, educators, and those of us in the safety community, May is also an exciting time, as we share in the pride and enthusiasm that mark the end of a successful year and the eve of summer. But it is also a poignant time, as we recognize that the celebrations take a toll and the risk of teen crashes jumps.
National Youth Traffic Safety Month (NYTSM) serves as an important reminder that the only way for this to be a joyous time of year is for it also to be a safe one. Teens face a number of challenges on the road. Their inexperience,combined with immaturity, make them four times more likely to be involved in a crash than other drivers.
With this risk comes devastating consequences: traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, claiming over 3,100 young lives in 2010 alone. That’s more than 3,100 families who won’t see their teens go off to college, or get their first job, or graduate, or become parents themselves. Many say this is tragic; I say it is outrageous.
All month long I’ll be posting entries here related to teen traffic safety, covering topics like graduated driver licensing, driver education, and parental involvement in the learning process. Later this month we’ll be releasing new findings regarding teen crash risk when passengers are present, and we’ll be joining with AAA and our other partners to promote the youth traffic safety message at events and in media nationwide.
I hope you’ll join us in observing NYTSM, and I wish all of you a happy, celebratory, and safe summer.