RALEIGH – Governor Pat McCrory is encouraging North Carolina parents to help their teenage children become safer drivers before handing over the keys to the family car. The governor proclaimed Oct. 16-22 as Teen Driver Safety Week in the hopes that parental engagement can help lower the rate of teen deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes.
“Parents and caregivers are the greatest influence on their teens, even as they grow older and become more independent,” Governor McCrory said. “If parents talk to their teen drivers about dangerous behaviors before they get behind the wheel of a car, then we can prevent tragedies.”
The Governor’s Highway Safety Program kicked off Teen Driver Safety Week by promoting “5 to Drive,” a campaign that provides parents with tips on how to talk to teens about the five most dangerous and deadly driving behaviors. The “5 to Drive” campaign topics are:
No cell phone use or texting while driving,
No extra passengers,
No alcohol, and
No driving or riding without a seat belt.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in teens, ahead of all other types of injury, disease or violence. In 2015, 81 teenagers were killed and another 10,223 were injured in North Carolina. Forty-one of those killed were unbelted at the time of the crash, and 32 were speeding.
North Carolina’s Graduated Driver License Program is a multi-layered program designed to ease teen drivers into full driving privileges as they become more mature and develop their driving skills. It places certain restrictions on teens under the age of 18 who have learner permits and driver licenses. The program requires parental involvement and stresses the importance of good driving behavior.
“Laws alone are not enough to protect these young drivers. We need parents to set the rules before their teens hit the road,” said Mark Scaringelli, assistant director of the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “We hope parents will start the conversation about the ‘5 to Drive’ campaign during Teen Driver Safety Week and then continue the conversations every day throughout the year to help keep their teens safe behind the wheel.”
Parents can find more information about talking to their young drivers at www.safercar.gov/parents/teendriving.