As part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, Chief James Sartell and the Townsend Police Department wish to provide families with safety tips and tools to discuss the importance of safe driving with their young drivers.
National Teen Driver Safety Week, organized by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), began on Sunday, Oct. 18 and will end on Saturday, Oct. 24. The national awareness campaign serves as a reminder for parents to talk with their teens about the important rules they need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for teens 15 to 18 years old in the United States, according to the NHTSA. In 2018, there were 2,121 people killed in crashes involving a teen passenger vehicle driver (15-18 years old), of which 719 deaths were the teen driver. During that time, there were an estimated 88,000 teen drivers injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and an estimated 256,000 people injured in crashes involving a teen driver, accounting for almost 10% of all those injured that year.
“As young drivers continue to learn the rules of the road, it’s critical for parents and guardians to remind their teenagers about vital driver safety information,” Chief Sartell said. “We hope families will have these conversations during National Teen Driver Safety Week and throughout the year to help keep their young drivers safe.”
The Townsend Police Department wishes to share the following safety topics from the NHTSA for parents to discuss with their teen driver to help keep them safe:
- Driving under the influence of any impairing substance — including alcohol, illicit or prescription drugs, or over-the-counter medication — could have deadly consequences.
- Buckle up for every trip, every time, no matter what. This applies for anyone traveling in the front or back seat.
- Texting or using a phone while driving can cause teens to become distracted and is prohibited in Massachusetts. In February, An Act Requiring the Hands-Free Use of Mobile Telephones While Driving went into effect prohibiting drivers from using cellphones and other hand-held devices while operating a vehicle. Drivers who are under 18 are not allowed to use any electronic devices. All phone use while driving is illegal, including use in hands-free mode.
- Always drive within the speed limit. Road conditions can change in an instant and speed limits help to ensure drivers have enough time to react.
- Limit the number of passengers in the vehicle to help prevent young drivers from becoming distracted.
Families are encouraged to talk with their teen drivers regularly to help reinforce these reminders.
For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and to learn additional safe driving tips to share with your teens, click here.