5 to Drive” Campaign Helps Parents Protect Teen Drivers

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

BATON ROUGE –The Capital Region Transportation Safety Coalition is joining with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to promote the “5 to Drive” campaign during National Teen Driver Safety Week. The campaign aims to help parents talk to their teen drivers about the rules of the road.

Even though teens might be gaining some independence and getting older, protecting them from harm should not stop now. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for U.S. teens 15 to 19 years old. In 2013, 2,614 teen (15-19 years old) passenger vehicle drivers were involved in fatal crashes.

The “5 to Drive” campaign addresses the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers. The idea behind the campaign is to give parents the words to use when they talk with their teens about the rules of the road. NHTSA’s website,www.safercar.gov/parents, has detailed information and statistics about the five rules designed to help save the lives of teen drivers.

The “5 to Drive” rules for parents to share with their teens are:

  1. No Drinking and Driving - almost one out of five (19 percent) of the young drivers (15 to 19 years old) involved in fatal crashes had been drinking, even though they were too young to legally buy or possess alcohol.

  2. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back. – 64 percent of all the young (13- to 19-year-old) passengers of teen (15- to 19-year-old) drivers who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2013 weren’t restrained.

  3. Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.- The age group of 15 to 19 years old has the highest percentage of drivers who were distracted by cell phone use and involved in a fatal crash. In 2013, 156 people were killed in crashes that involved a distracted teen driver.

  4. Stop Speeding Before It Stops You - In 2013, almost one-third (29 percent) of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding.

  5. No More Than One Passenger at a Time. - The risk of a fatal crash goes up with each additional passenger.

The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles, with support from State Farm, now offers a free Parent’s Supervised Driving Program booklet for parents of new drivers. The booklet is designed to improve teen driver safety by providing parents and guardians with a methodical approach to teaching the requisite driving skills.

Parents are required to provide 50 hours of additional training after the teen has been issued his learner’s permit”, says Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles Commissioner, Stephen Campbell. “They have found this book to be a very positive re-enforcement tool during their supervised training. Additionally, parents have commented that they, too, are being retrained on their driving skills and habits. It’s a win–win for everyone involved – the parent, the teen and the motoring public”, he added. The book is distributed by the Office of Motor Vehicles when the teen receives their learner’s permit.

Teen drivers need to follow these rules and any other restrictions outlined in Louisiana’sgraduated driver licensing (GDL) law. Parents need to outline rules and explain to their teens the deadly consequences of unsafe driving practices. The “5 to Drive” campaign can help parents start that conversation.