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NHTSA 44-15
Monday, October 19, 2015
Contact: Kathryn Henry, 202-366-9550, Public.Affairs@dot.gov


Campaign gives parents the words to use when they talk with their teens about the rules of the road


WASHINGTON – In recognition of National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 18-24, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges parents and guardians of teen drivers to discuss with their teens one traffic safety topic each day. Those topics, also the most risky behaviors among teens, include alcohol, texting, failure to wear seat belts, speeding, and riding with extra teen passengers.

“When parents model and reinforce safe driving habits, they equip their teens with the skills to safely navigate the roadways for life,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Parents need to take the time to talk with their kids about behaviors that will keep them safe, and those that create greater risk.”

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year-olds in the United States. In 2013, there were 2,614 teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes and an estimated 130,000 were injured. Yet a survey shows that only 25 percent of parents have had a serious talk with their kids about the key components of driving. During National Teen Driver Safety Week, and as part of the “5 to Drive” campaign, NHTSA urges parents and guardians to make time to have these talks, and to continue those conversations throughout the learning-to-drive process.

The “5 to Drive” campaign addresses the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers.

  1. No alcohol – The minimum legal drinking age in every state is 21. However, in 2013, among 15- to 20-year-old drivers killed in crashes, 29 percent had been drinking.
  2. No cell phone use or texting while driving – Texting or dialing while driving is more than just risky – it’s deadly. In 2013, among drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 11 percent were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the highest percentage of drivers distracted by phone use. In 2013, 318 people were killed in crashes that involved a distracted teen driver.
  3. No driving or riding without a seat belt – In 2013, more than half (55%) of all 15- to 20-year-old occupants of passenger vehicles killed in crashes were unrestrained.
  4. No speeding – In 2013, speeding was a factor in 42 percent of the crashes that killed 15- to 20-year-old drivers.
  5. No extra passengers – NHTSA data shows that a teenage driver is 2.5 times more likely to engage in risky behaviors when driving with one teenage passenger and three times more likely with multiple teenage passengers

“The ‘5 to Drive’ campaign gives parents and teens a simple, straightforward checklist that can help them talk about good driving skills, and most importantly, prevent a tragedy before it happens,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.

To address the issue of underage drinking, NHTSA has joined with the Ad Council to launch a new public service announcement campaign that targets new drivers 16 and 17 years old, and is built around the idea of “Underage Drinking and Driving: The Ultimate Party Foul.” The campaign includes a TV ad, a Tumblr site, web banners and outdoor advertising. A branded emoji keyboard will be available later on both the iOS and Android platforms. View the PSAs and learn more about the campaign.

NHTSA has also partnered with the Ad Council to develop new English and Spanish TV PSAs that target motorists who text and drive. The new ads remind people that the kind of overconfidence displayed by those who text and drive is not only selfish – it’s dangerous. The PSAs also make it clear that no one is special enough to text and drive. View the PSA

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U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
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Washington, DC 20590
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