As one expert has said, driving is one of the most dangerous things we let our children do. In the last decade, more than 58,000 teenagers died in car crashes. In 2010, more than 3,100 teens died on the roadways, many of whom were merely passengers in the cars of other teen drivers. National Teen Driver Safety Week is a great way for many organizations—federal, grassroots, industry—to highlight the number one cause of death for teens and undertake activities to reduce these needless fatalities.
The NTSB has long recognized the need to improve teen driver safety. Many of us at the NTSB are parents ourselves. Keeping children safe on the highways isn’t just part of our job; it is something that affects us personally.
This year, many grassroots efforts are underway to promote events for Teen Driver Safety Week. Across the nation, families, schools and communities are working to promote awareness of highway safety issues, take for example, the Conor Lynch Foundation in CA is holding their 2nd Annual 5K Run/Walk: In Honor of Conor to raise awareness for teen driver safety, and is also hosting a Teen Driver Safety Fair at a local high school. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is raising awareness by hosting Operation Safe Driver Week throughout all of Teen Driver Safety Week to promote safe driving habits around big trucks, with a focus on distracted driving. The Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy is also holding an event to kick off Teen Driver Safety Week, with a press conference, distracted driving demonstration, an assembly at a local high school, and an event where victims of distracted or reckless driving speak out about these dangers.
Yes, driving is the most dangerous thing we let our children do. But we at the NTSB, along with many others in the community, are doing what we can to make it safer We appreciate the committed and powerful voices working every day in local communities to advocate for safety changes – one person at a time, through their efforts we will see results and end this epidemic.