As local teens anxiously look forward to high school prom and graduation celebrations, parents are equally excited, but perhaps a little concerned, hoping students celebrate safely and responsibly. What should be a memorable time for students could easily be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents remain the leading cause of death among 15-to-20-year-olds – claiming nearly 6,000 young lives each year. The Allstate Foundation’s comprehensive study, “Chronic: a Report on the State of Teen Driving”, includes an in-depth look at teen attitudes on driving and suggests reasons why young drivers become involved in motor vehicle accidents.
Among the Chronic Report’s findings:
• More than half (56%) make and answer phone calls while driving.
• 13% percent (an estimated 1.6 million teens) said they drive while reading or writing text messages.
• 47% percent said passengers sometimes distract them.
• 64% percent admit they speed up to go through a yellow light.
• Nearly 70 % of teens said they’ve felt unsafe when someone else was driving but less than half (45%) would speak up.
So what can parents do to help prepare their teens for the prom and other events while keeping a focus on safety? Local Allstate Agent Andrew McCabe recommends the following tips:
Be clear about the dangers of drinking and driving: Driving under the influence is illegal and unacceptable. Many statistics can illustrate the dangers of drinking and driving, but make it clear to your teen that making it a safe evening for all is top priority.
Establish an SOS: Transportation plans can easily change on the spot and teens may find themselves in potentially dangerous situations. Make sure your teen knows it’s OK to not take a ride with a driver whose behavior causes concern. Teens should be able to call parents or a responsible adult for a safe ride.
Plan an alternate source of transportation: Instead of driving, arrange for a cab or a limousine.
Limit the number of passengers in your teenager’s car: More passengers create more potential distractions for the driver.
Reduce distractions: Warn your teen about the dangers of driver distractions, including eating, drinking, or using a cell phone while driving.
Buckle up: Teens, more than any group of drivers and passengers, don’t use seatbelts. In many communities though, it’s the law.
No matter how hectic your teen’s social calendar is on prom night, or any other night, safety should never take a back seat to any special occasion. For more information, please contact your local Allstate agent Andrew McCabe at 414-961-1166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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