Teen Driver Safety Week to be held October 19 to 25
Traffic crashes killed 28 teens in Wisconsin last year
For the City-Times
Last year, 28 teenagers were killed and more than 5,000 were injured in traffic crashes in Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).
To help protect teens from needless death and injuries, Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed the week of October 19 to 25 as Teen Driver Safety Week in Wisconsin. The annual Teen Driver Safety Week is an opportunity to encourage teens to make better decisions behind the wheel and increase parental involvement as teenagers gain driving experience.
The reasons why teens continue to be killed and injured in traffic crashes at an alarming rate are no mystery, according to David Pabst, director of the WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety.
“Teens are more likely to crash because typically they are inexperienced drivers,” says Pabst. “They also tend to speed, drive aggressively and not buckle up. In addition, teens are prone to distracted driving. State law prohibits drivers with an instruction permit or probationary license, which includes many teenagers, from using a cell phone while driving except to report an emergency. Another state law prohibits texting while driving for all motorists. Despite these laws, too many teens still talk or text on mobile devices when all their attention should be focused on driving.”
Traffic safety officials stress that the risk of a crash increases significantly when teen drivers have teen passengers in their vehicle.
“Inexperienced teen drivers can be easily distracted by their teenaged passengers, who may make a lot of noise, move around unexpectedly, or urge the driver to speed or drive recklessly,” Pabst says. “To help prevent these dangerous situations, Wisconsin has a graduated driver license requirement for new drivers under age 18 that helps them gain valuable experience behind the wheel while limiting the number of teen passengers in their vehicles.”
Parents also have a critical role in ensuring their teenage children develop safety-conscious driving habits. WisDOT offers a Parent’s Supervised Driving Program that provides a systematic approach to help teens become safe, smart and skilled drivers. More information is available online at: www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/teens/psdp.htm. Moreover, parents need to set a good example by obeying speed limits, buckling up, and eliminating distractions.