No Keys Until You Know The Rules


October 24, 2018 | View PDF

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens between the ages of 15-18 in the United States ahead of all other types of injury, disease, and violence. In 2016, there were 2,288 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver (15-18 years old), of which 814 deaths were the teen driver, a six-percent increase from 2015. All teens are invited to take the pledge during National Teen Driver Safety Week from October 21-27, 2018 to obey the rules every time you drive. It’s ultimately up to you to make the right decisions behind the wheel. During the week, Richland County Injury Prevention & DUI Task Force is teaming up with NHTSA to promote safe teen driving habits.

1. Don’t Drive Impaired. If you are under 21, it’s illegal for you to drink alcohol, and it’s illegal for you to drive after drinking alcohol. Did you know that in 2015, one out of every five teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking? Even scarier, in fatal crashes that involved a teen driver and alcohol, 88 percent of the time the teen driver was the fatality.

2. Buckle Up — Every Trip, Every Time. Everyone — Front Seat and Back. Seat belts are designed to keep you safe in a crash by preventing you from being ejected from your vehicle, whether you’re sitting in the front seat or back, no matter how long or short the trip. Before you start driving, buckle your seat belt and make sure all passengers do the same. It’s a simple task that could save your life.

3. Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel. All the Time. It’s tempting to answer a phone call or text, check social media, or ‘go live’ while driving, but those few seconds that you take your eyes off the road could be your last.

4. Follow the Posted Speed Limit. Speed limits aren’t just suggestions; they are the law, and are there to keep you and other motorists safe. In 2016, almost one-third (31%) of teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash. Remember to always drive within the speed limit; it could be what saves you from a deadly crash.

5. Passengers. Driving your friends to school may seem like a good idea, but it’s not. According to data, teen drivers are 2.5 times more likely to engage in one or more potentially risky behaviors when driving with one teenage passenger, when compared to driving alone. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behaviors triples when driving with multiple passengers.

6. Avoid Driving Drowsy. Everyone is busy studying, participating in extracurricular activities, and keeping up with friends. For many teens, the easiest thing to skimp on is the thing they need the most: sleep. This is a dangerous behavior that can lead to drowsy driving. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep; your grades, your friends, your passengers, and other drivers will thank you because you’ll be safer on the road.

Now that you know the most important behaviors to follow to keep yourself and your passenger’s safe, be sure to follow them each and every time you get behind the wheel.

If you have any questions, need some additional information on teen drivers or would like to be a member of the Injury Prevention/DUI Task Force please contact Don Smies, Coordinator 406-433-2207. Check us out on Facebook,


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