FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT:||Buel C. Young|
|MVA Organization Relations|
Maryland MVA Endorses "Ride Like a Friend" for National Teen Driver Safety Week
October 19 - 25, 2008
GLEN BURNIE, MD (October 16, 2008) -- Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration, a pioneer in teen driver safety, endorses this year’s goal of National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 19 –25, 2008: to limit the number of passengers teen drivers carry in their vehicles The theme of this year’s campaign is to “ride like a friend,” since most teens do not consider the presence of their teen passengers when they are driving.
Studies confirm that the presence of one passenger doubles the fatal crash risk for a teen driver and the risk increases with each additional passenger, yet few teens recognize the impact passengers have on driver safety. Distractions are deadly for teens and the number one reason new drivers crash. Teen passengers are a major factor in fatal teen crashes. The novice teen driver lacks the experience needed on the road to recognize and react to high-risk conditions and situations, therefore distractions such as passengers compound the inexperience factor and increase the crash risk.
Maryland recognized the danger of teen passengers and implemented a law to limit them three years ago. Maryland’s Rookie Driver: Graduated Licensing System prohibits minors, holding a provisional driver’s license, from transporting any passengers who are under the age of 18 during the first 5 months of the provisional period. The law does allow the exception of family members, a younger sister or brother, for example, who needs to be taken to school.
“Teen drivers are a major highway safety issue,” said John Kuo, Administrator of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). “That’s why we encourage more parental involvement with their son or daughter to take ample time to properly practice and learn to drive. This month, we increased the duration of a Learner’s Permit. Our data showed us that many teens were struggling to complete their required practice time and taking the skills test to obtain their provisional licenses before their learner’s permit previously issued for only 1 year expired. As of October 1, 2008, the permit will be valid for two full years without the need to retest or pay the associated fees for an additional year.”
Parents and teens can follow these simple steps to reduce crash risks associated with teen drivers and passengers:
Tips for Parents:
- Don’t let your teen ride with drivers who have less than a year’s experience. Most teen passengers who die on the road are riding with teen drivers.
- Keep up the driving lessons even after your teen has a license. Those first months of independent driving are the most risky.
- Want to set limits on your teen’s driving? A teen-parent driving agreement can help make rules and consequences clear.
- Peer passengers are a deadly risk for teen drivers. Don’t allow child or teen passengers until your teen has been driving independently for at least six months. Limit teen passengers to no more than one for the following six months.
- Set clear rules about safe driving. Teens with parents who set limits on driving are less likely to have crashes, engage in risky driving, or get tickets.
- Talk to your teen about passenger distraction. Only 1 in 10 teens knows that they’re more likely to crash if they have peer passengers in the car.
- Teens driving without a fixed destination are at a higher risk of getting into a crash. Know where they are going, whom they’ll be with and when they will be home.
- Most teen crashes are the result of “rookie mistakes”. Make sure your teen gets lots of supervised practice even after getting a license.
- Make sure your teen’s supervised driving practice includes different times of day, routes, as well as various road and weather conditions.
Tips for Teens:
- Ride Like a Friend. Chatting on your cell phone, yelling out the window, fighting over the radio or otherwise acting wild can distract a friend who is driving. Be respectful and keep your friend focused by helping to navigate and watch the road when asked.
- Wear Your Seatbelt. Two-thirds of teens that die in car crashes are not buckled up. In a crash, your unrestrained body also can hurt others in the car.
National Teen Driver Safety Week was established by Congress in 2007 to focus attention on the nation’s epidemic of teen car crashes and to find solutions to lower teen drivers’ fatal crash risk.