You are the Solution to Reckless and Distracted Driving
National Teen Safe Driving Week is upon us, and we have a full schedule of dynamic press events planned, but what can you do to help fight against unsafe driving?
Car crashes, not “accidents,” are the leading cause of death for teens in America. As an organization, Impact Teen Drivers makes the conscious choice not to use the word, “accident,” because it implies inevitability. Car crashes are not inevitable; they involve decisions made by drivers and passengers. As individuals, we all have the power to unite against this public health epidemic and prevent more tragedies from occurring.
It is absolutely vital to make the resolution never to drink and drive, but seventy-five percent of teen crash fatalities do not involve drugs and alcohol, so we have to consider the many other decisions that can also be lethal in the context of a car. Consider everything that distracts you behind the wheel—your passengers, your radio, your breakfast, your phone…and pledge to stop trying to multitask. First and foremost, make the conscious commitment to safe driving by avoiding everything that distracts you. Just focus on driving.
Secondly, speak up as a passenger. Being seen as uncool, bossy, or unpleasant is NOT the worst-case scenario. A moment of tension will NEVER be the worst-case scenario. Don’t just speak up when you are the passenger either—take it a step further and proactively initiate discussion with the people in your life. Whether they are your peers, elders, juniors, etc., everyone can benefit from being reminded to drive safely. Having these conversations will remind you to put your money where your mouth is and always role model good driving habits. Parents, remember you are the number one influencer of your teen’s driving attitude and behavior.
In addition to these simple yet life-saving strategies to fight against the number one killer, there are abundant resources to help you make an even bigger mark. We offer a peer-to-peer messaging contest, “Create Real Impact,” twice a year, which allows for students (ages 14-22) to promote their solutions to reckless and distracted driving via original creative works. Visit www.createrealimpact.com for all the details.
Consider bringing an evidence-based program to your community. Browse through the “What We Do” sidebar of our homepage (www.impactteendrivers.org) and email firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information or schedule a program. If you are based in California, our Education Outreach Coordinators will come into your community for free to work with you directly, giving presentations and facilitating trainings.
Most importantly, every time you get in a car, buckle up, speak up, and just drive safe. You are the solution.