WEST NEWBURY — With school out and the summer season in full swing, Groveland Fire Chief Robert Valentine, Groveland Police Chief Jeffrey Gillen, Merrimac Fire Chief Larry Fisher, Merrimac Police Chief Eric Shears, West Newbury Fire Chief Michael Dwyer, Police Chief Jeffrey Durand and Pentucket Superintendent Dr. Justin Bartholomew wish to share safe driving tips with teens.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for teens age 15 to 18 in the United States.
In 2018, there were 2,121 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver, 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.
“Teen drivers are still learning the ways of the road, and it is crucial for them to be cautious and to take the proper steps to ensure safety on the road,” said Superintendent Bartholomew. “Parents, please talk to your young drivers about the following safety tips. Something as simple as buckling up could save a life.”
The public safety departments that comprise Pentucket’d district recommend that parents discuss the following safety tips from safekids.org with their teen driver to help keep them safe:
- Buckle up for every trip, every time, no matter what. This applies for anyone traveling in the front or back seat. More than half of teens killed in crashes were not wearing a seatbelt.
- Texting or using a phone while driving can cause teens to become distracted and is prohibited in Massachusetts. On average, texting while driving takes a driver’s eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that is equivalent to driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
- Limit the number of passengers in the vehicle to help prevent young drivers from becoming distracted. The risk of a fatal crash can double, or even triple when two or more teens ride in a vehicle together.
- Driving under the influence of any impairing substance — including alcohol, illicit or prescription drugs, or over-the-counter medication — could have deadly consequences.
- Teens should only drive when it is dark after extra practice. At night, the risk of a fatal crash is three times more likely for teens than adults.
- Always drive within the speed limit. Road conditions can change in an instant and speed limits help to ensure that drivers have enough time to react.
- If a driver is driving dangerously, speak up.
For more information on safe driving information for teens, please click here.