Inexperience is a Leading Cause of Crashes Among Teen Drivers
Concordville, PA (May 13, 2013) The statistics are as familiar as they are depressing. A staggering 3 of 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related accident in their lives. But the statistics do not do justice to the pain and loss suffered by drunk driving victims and their families husbands and wives who have lost their spouses, kids who have lost their parents, the parents who have lost children.
Teens are actually less likely than adults to get behind the wheel after drinking, but when they do; their risk of crashing is far greater. While only 10 percent of teens report drinking and driving within the prior month, nearly four out of every 10 teens behind the wheel who died in a crash had a blood alcohol content (BAC) greater than 0.01 percent. And, the majority of teens - 53 percent - saw substance use behind the wheel.
Traditionally, the only way for new drivers to gain experience was to practice in the family car with a parent, or to incur the cost of a drivers education instructor. This often leaves new drivers with limited time behind the wheel and feeling uncertain about their driving skills. Since 2003, State Farm has partnered with the Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Association to promote teen driving distraction awareness through sponsorship of Safety SIMulator visits to schools and communities and other programs on the dangers of impaired driving.
The Safety SIMulator is a virtual driving experience that allows students to sit in a real car cockpit with working instruments and a three-screen, 120° view. The Safety SIM creates impaired driving scenarios in which the driver or other vehicles on the road are being operated by someone under the influence. The system operator can take the driver through a selection of hundreds of different driving scenarios. This risk free setting allows drivers to gain a better understanding of the risks associated with impaired driving.
With its real dashboard, steering wheel and drivers seat, the Safety SIMulator provides realistic, hands-on experience. The lessons in safe driving and the effects of impairment learned by a teens experience with the Safety SIMulator will have a positive impact upon the participants future decisions-and help prevent risky behaviors, hopefully saving lives.
The purpose of this program is to provide students with an alcohol awareness curriculum that will stress the importance of zero tolerance to alcohol and drugs AND zero tolerance to driving impaired in a way that remains with students long after the conclusion of the program. Ideas for hosting additional events in conjunction with The Safety SIMulator are suggested including, speakers, videos, victim impact panels, in-class drug and alcohol education and many other effective alcohol education tools.
The Safety SIMulator is an educational tool that can help shape a safe future for our youth, says State Farm Eastern Public Affairs Manager, Jen Alvarez. Vehicle crashes are more common among young drivers than any other age group. One in four crash fatalities in the United States involve a 16- to 24-year-old driver. State Farm, along with our partners at PA DUI, is working hard to change these alarming statistics.
Lessons learned from a teens experience with the Safety SIMulator are likely to have a positive impact upon the participants future decisions and help prevent risky behavior, hopefully saving lives.
Whether we have a teen driver in our family or not, we should all care about this issue, adds Alvarez. When most people think about those affected by teen driver crashes, they think of the teens behind the wheel. We must also consider the significant impact of these crashes on other members of our communities: occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and other road-users.
A recent report on teen driver safety released by The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and State Farm® shows encouraging trends, though, when it comes to teen passengers. In 2011 more than half of teen passengers (54 percent) reported always buckling up. From 2008 to 2011, risky behaviors of teen passengers (ages 15 to 19 years) declined: the number of teen passengers killed in crashes not wearing seat belts decreased 23 percent; the number of teen passengers driven by a peer who had been drinking declined 14 percent; and 30 percent fewer teen passengers were killed in crashes involving a teen driver. Overall, the report measured a 47 percent decline in teen driver-related fatalities over the past six years. Still, as recent high-profile multi-fatality crashes with teen drivers illustrate, crashes remain the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.
Although the report indicates progress for teen driver safety efforts, risky behaviors - such as texting or emailing while driving, driving after drinking, and low seat belt use - remain serious problems. According to the report, called Miles to go: Focusing on Risks for Teen Driver Crashes, a third of teens say they have recently texted or emailed while driving - a proven deadly distraction, especially for teen drivers. Speeding remained a factor in more than half of fatal teen driver crashes - nearly the same percentage as in 2008, and the percentage of teens dying in crashes with a blood alcohol level > 0.01 increased slightly - from 38 percent to 41 percent.
Upcoming 2013 State Farm sponsored locations:
|May 7||Greater Johnstown High School||Johnstown, PA 15902|
|May 13 & 14||Springdale High School||Springdale, PA 15144|
|May 20||Chester High School||Chester, PA 19013|
|May 21||Coatesville Area High School||Coatesville, PA 19320|
|June 15||Ford City Renaissance Day||Ford City, PA 16226|
|Office: (610) 358-7667|
The Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Association is a professional organization which is working to address the DUI problem in all of its many stages from prevention to enforcement up to, and including, adjudication and rehabilitation. We provide information, direction, training and support with the purpose of working toward the elimination of impaired drivers and the harm that they can cause. Through our efforts we create a healthier and safer environment for all people in the Commonwealth. The Pennsylvania DUI Association was established in 1979 to take action in support of the initiatives being undertaken to encourage and facilitate the growth of safety programs in Pennsylvania. The Association is a non-profit, professional association which provides technical assistance and support to alcohol-highway safety professionals and other safety professionals representing the fields of highway safety. The Association is divided into four geographic regions to facilitate networking and information dissemination to all members of the Pennsylvania DUI Association.
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts - more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 43 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com or in Canada http://www.statefarm.ca.