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100 Deadly Days of Summer for Teen Drivers: Teen Driving Safety Toolkit

Campaign Overview

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for US teens, and the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the deadliest for drivers ages 15-20, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic safety experts attribute the higher crash rates for teens to having more free time under less parental supervision, more opportunities to drive at night when road risks are higher and parent curfews may be relaxed.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional deaths and hospitalizations for teens ages 16 to 17 in New York State. Every day, approximately six teen drivers in NYS are treated at hospitals due to vehicle crashes. In NYS, 30% of the teen driver deaths, ages 16-17, occurred during the months of June, July, and August. During the summer months, 16-17 year-old drivers in NYS are more likely to be severely injured or killed in motor vehicles crashes. Drivers in this age group have lower rates of seat belt use and are more likely to transport multiple teen passengers which are factors that contribute to increased injury and crash risk .

Driver inexperience is the leading cause of crashes involving teen drivers. Most crashes are not caused by teens who drive recklessly. According to a national study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, nearly half of the car crashes involving teen drivers were caused by driver errors. These errors include the lack of ''scanning'' skill to assess the environment sufficiently while behind the wheel, and driving too fast for road conditions (not necessarily exceeding the speed limit, or being distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle). Driving inexperience, coupled with distractions, such as the presence of teen passengers and cell phone use, is a scenario that can greatly increase the risk of a deadly car crash.

Teen driving affects everyone. More than two-thirds of the crash deaths involving NYS 16 -17 year-old teen drivers were to someone other than the driver. Motor vehicle crash injuries involving NYS teen drivers total $24 million annually in hospital charges.

Motor vehicle crashes are preventable. Research indicates that the institution of comprehensive graduated driver licensing laws dramatically reduces the number of fatal and injury related crashes among 16-year-old drivers. In addition, a parent/teen driving agreement is a tool recommended for parents to help manage their teen's driving and reduce crash risk.

This toolkit provides a variety of media items, promotional materials, parental management tools and resources to promote teen driver safety practices during the summer months in your community. We encourage your participation in this campaign to promote this important message:

Campaign Talking Points

  • Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for 16–17 year-olds in New York State.
  • According to the 2003-2009 NYS Police Crash Reports, 16-17 year-old drivers are more likely to be severely injured or killed in motor vehicles crashes and less likely to buckle up during the summer months. Teen drivers in this age group are more likely to transport more than two teen (16-20 years) passengers.
  • A 2009 Liberty Mutual Group/Students Against Destructive Decisions national study indicates that few teens (9%) believe summer driving can be dangerous.
  • Teen drivers and their parents should be aware of the increased risk of injury-related motor vehicle crashes during the summer months and preventive measures to reduce crash and injury risks.
  • Driver inexperience is a leading cause of teen driver crashes. Most crashes are due to driver errors. Safe driving is a skill acquired over time. New research indicates that the part of the brain which manages the body's motor skills, emotional maturity, aversion to taking risks, and is most responsible for driving skills is not fully developed until age 25. Due to this fact, teens are particularly vulnerable of engaging in risky behaviors, such as impaired driving, distracted driving and speeding, and fail to recognize their dangers compared to older drivers.
  • Crash risk is highest for teens during the first year of unsupervised driving.
  • Comprehensive Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws are associated with reductions of 38% and 40% in fatal and injury crashes, respectively, among 16-year-old drivers. These laws are systems designed to delay full licensure while allowing teens to obtain their initial driving experience under low-risk conditions.
  • Parents and teens should learn about and comply with the New York State driving laws and the GDL. These laws are in place to keep teens and others safe on roadways.
  • Parental management of teen driving reduces teen crash risk. Involved parents who set rules and monitor their teens' driving behavior in a supportive way can lower their teens' crash risk by half. Parents are encouraged to use the NYS GDL to develop a set of appropriate driving limits for their new teen drivers and read the "Parent Guide to Teen Driving".
  • A written parent/teen driving agreement can be used by parents to set family rules about driving and outline clear consequences for breaking the rules. Samples of parent/teen driving agreements can be found on the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles website and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
  • Additional parental driving management tools are recommended and located on the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles website.

Get the Facts about Teen Driving Safety!

  • The Teen Driving Problem

    • Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for 16-17 year-olds in NYS.
    • In New York State, 30% of the teen driver deaths, ages 16-17 years, occurred during the months of June, July, and August.
    • Each year in New York State during the months of June, July, and August, approximately 680 teen drivers, ages 16-17 years, are treated at hospitals due to motor vehicle crashes; 47 of these drivers are injured severely enough to require hospitalization.
    • Motor vehicle crash injuries involving NYS teen drivers total $24 million annually in hospital charges.
  • Teen Driving Risks

    • Male drivers are more likely to be involved, seriously hurt, or fatally injured in a crash than their female counterparts.
    • Newly licensed teens have the highest crash risk which extends through the first year of unsupervised driving.
    • Night driving - the largest proportion of fatal crashes involving 16-17 year-old drivers occur between 9:00 p.m. – midnight, while the largest proportion of crashes involving all drivers occur between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
    • The presence of teen passengers increases crash risk - the largest proportion of passengers killed or injured in vehicles with drivers ages 16-17 were teens ages 16-17, followed by passengers ages 18-20.
  • Factors Contributing to Crashes and Injuries

    • Driver inexperience. Teens are more likely to underestimate dangerous situations and less likely to recognize hazardous situations when driving.
    • Speeding or driving too fast for road conditions.
    • Driving distractions. These include cell phone use, the presence of teen passengers, and driver inattention.
    • Driving conditions. Teens tend to drive more frequently under higher risk conditions, such as at night increasing crash and injury risk.
    • Brain development/maturity. A teen's brain does not function like an adult. The part of the brain that manages emotional maturity, risk taking, and is most responsible for driving skills is not fully developed until age 25. Due to this fact, teens are more likely to take risks when driving and often fail to recognize the dangers.
    • Lack of safety belt use.
  • The Dangers of Summer Driving - NYS Teen Drivers

    According to 2003-2009 NYS Police Crash Reports, 16 and 17 year old drivers:

    • Are more likely to be severely injured or killed in motor vehicles crashes during the summer.
    • Have lower rates of seat belt use during the summer months.
    • Were more likely to transport more than two passengers ages 16-20 during the summer months.
  • Summer Driving Safety Challenges

    According to a 2009 national survey conducted by the Liberty Mutual Group and SADD:

    • Only 9% of teens believe that summer driving comes with a high degree of danger.
    • The majority of teens (55%) believe they or their peers are more likely to drink and drive during the summer. This belief increases to 77% when responding specifically about the Fourth of July.
    • More than half (52%) of teens admit they are not responsible for abiding by any formal or informal family driving safety rules. Sixty-four percent of teens who have not entered into a written agreement with their parents about safe driving rules say they would be willing to do so.
  • NYS Graduated Driver Licensing Law

    The current NYS GDL Law has regional restrictions and includes the following components:

    • Consists of a three-stage licensing system beginning at age 16 for learner's permit, age 16 and six months for the intermediate stage, and age 18 for full licensure (age 17 for teens who complete driver education).
    • Includes a mandatory holding period during the learner's permit stage of up to 6 months.
    • Requires a minimum of 50 hours of supervised practice driving during the learner's permit stage, at least 15 hours of driving must be done at night.
    • Prohibits unsupervised nighttime driving between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. during the intermediate stage.
    • Requires every passenger riding in a car with a teen driver to be restrained.
    • Prohibits transporting more than one passenger younger than age 21 unless a parent or guardian is in the vehicle.
    • Prohibits the use of hand-held cell phones for drivers of all ages.
    • Prohibits texting while driving for all drivers.

    The hospitalization rates for 16-17 year-old drivers have decreased by 50% since the NYS GDL was instituted in 2003. In addition, night-time driving restrictions imposed under the NYS GDL reduced injury rates by 40% for 16 year-old drivers involved in crashes which occurred between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.

  • Summer Strategies

    • Educate parents and teens about the increased risk of fatal and injury related teen crashes during the summer and risk reduction strategies.
    • Increase parental and teen knowledge of and compliance with the NYS GDL with emphasis on night-time driving and teen passenger restrictions.
    • Encourage parents to monitor and manage their teen's driving by using driving management tools such as:
    • Promote the safety benefits of seat belt use and compliance with the NYS Occupant Restraint law by teen drivers and their passengers.

Outreach Activities

Teen crashes are preventable. Lives can be saved during the "100 Deadly Days of Summer for Teen Drivers" through educating parents, teens, and other community members about the injury risks of teen driving and promoting safe driving practices. The materials and resources in this tool kit will provide the tools to conduct activities to promote teen driving safety in your community.

Collaborate with Schools, Parents and Health Providers

  • Refer parents to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention "Parents are the Key" Facebook page.
  • Announce teen driving safety messages during morning announcements at high schools.
  • Set up a teen driving safety educational display and distribute parent/teen driving agreements at high school graduation ceremonies.
  • Insert a parent/teen driving agreement in the graduation playbill to encourage parents to set limits for their teen's driving during the summer months.
  • Suggest that high schools allow students write short messages, such as "Drive Safe," "Buckle Up," "Don't Drive Distracted," with sidewalk chalk in the school's parking lot.
  • Provide teen driving safety educational and promotional materials to PTA groups, driver educators, school nurses and health teachers.
  • Distribute Traffic Teens Crossword, Word Search puzzles and safe driving pledges to teens.
  • Send a weekly Eblast (email message) to PTA members and parents that includes an article on teen driver safety.
  • Have a display of teen driver safety educational materials at car dealerships.
  • Provide teen driver safety handouts and educational materials to pediatricians, medical care providers, hospital discharge units, schools and youth centers.
  • Set up an educational display at local libraries and community centers.
  • Conduct a presentation on teen driving safety for school and community groups.

Involve the Media

  • Promote the use of the following reputable Facebook sites for parents and teens to learn more about teen driving safety. Suggest parents and teens to invite their Facebook friends to join.
  • Post teen driving safety messages on your agency's Twitter and Facebook pages.
  • Submit a news release to local newspapers and Public Service Announcements to radio stations.
  • Download recorded teen driving safety PSAs available through the NYS Association of Traffic Safety Boards and distribute CDs containing the PSAs to local radio stations.
  • Include a brief article about the dangers of teen driving during the summer and preventive measures for parents and teens in electronic communications such as list serves, newsletters, and other venues used by your agency.
  • Use local cable access channels to convey teen driver safety messages.
  • Submit a Letter to the Editor to local newspapers to increase public awareness about the problem of teen driving crashes/injuries, promote adherence to the NYS GDL, and encourage parents to take steps to manage their teen's driving.
  • Submit articles on teen driver safety for publications, such as faith-based or school newsletters and bulletins.
  • Respond to breaking news stories involving teen driving crashes.
  • Speak about teen driving risks and preventive strategies on a radio talk show.

Sample Letter to Editor

Dear Editor,

From Memorial Day through the Labor Day weekend are the "100 Deadly Days of Summer for Teen Drivers." As school winds down and teens start to enjoy the freedoms of summer, the risk of NYS teen drivers being involved in a "deadly" car crash increases. According to 2003-2009 NYS Police crash report data, 16-17 year-old teen drivers are more likely transport two or more teen passengers while driving and less likely to buckle up during the summer months. The presence of teen passengers can be a deadly distraction for teen drivers. Teen drivers transporting two or more passengers are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash. Seat belt use provides life-saving benefits for all drivers and is essential for teen drivers and their passengers as they are more likely to be involved in a serious injury-related car crash compared to older drivers.

The prevention of car crashes and injuries involving teen drivers is a state and local priority. The New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety, state and local public health and traffic safety agencies and (your agency) recommends that parents of 16-17 year-old drivers take the following actions to decrease the risk of a deadly car crash and crash-related injuries during "100 Deadly Days of Summer for Teen Drivers" and the first year of unsupervised driving.

  • Talk to your teen about the dangers of teen driving and the increased risks during the summer.
  • Make sure your teen complies with the teen passenger and night driving restrictions of NYS Graduated Driver Licensing Law (GDL).
  • Stress the importance of compliance with the NYS Occupant Restraint law and discuss the safety benefits of seat belt use with your teen.
  • Use a written parent/teen driving agreement to manage your teen's driving at least for the first six months of licensure. Parents who set rules and monitor their teens' driving behavior in a supportive way can lower their teens' crash risk by half. Samples of parent/teen driving agreements can be found on the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles website and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website

Additional teen driving management tools, such as the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Teen Electronic Event Notification Service (TEENS) Program, Withdrawal of Driver License Consent Form, and teen driving safety information for parents, can be found at www.dmv.ny.gov For more information about teen driving safety, go to www.health.ny.gov or www.safeny.ny.gov

Sincerely,

Sample Radio Public Service Announcements (30 Seconds)

  • Distracted Driving - Cell Phone Use

    Driving distractions are a leading cause of injury-related car crashes involving teen drivers in New York State. People who send text messages while driving are twenty-three times more likely to be in a car crash than non-distracted drivers. Parents can reduce the risk of a car crash by setting and enforcing rules prohibiting the use of cell phones by their teens while driving. This message is from the New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety, (name of agency/organization) and this station.

  • Distracted Driving – Teen Passengers

    Teen passengers can be deadly distractions when riding with newly licensed teen drivers without an adult present. Teens driving with two or more teen passengers in the car increases the risk of a fatal crash by five times. Parents can reduce the risk of a car crash by making sure their teen follows the New York State Graduated Driver Licensing Law passenger restrictions. This message is brought to you by the New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety, (name of agency/organization) and this station.

  • Graduated Driver Licensing Law

    Did you know that teen drivers are at increased risk for injury-related car crashes during the summer? Parents hold the keys to teen driving safety. Talk about the risks of driving with your teen and make sure your teen complies with the New York State Graduated Driver Licensing law. This is a message from the New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety, the (name of agency/organization) and this station.

Sample News Article

Safety Tips to Protect Teen Drivers

As teens are enjoying the freedoms of summer, the risk of New York State 16-17 year-old drivers being involved in a "deadly" car crash increases. Teen drivers are more likely to drive with more than two teens in the car and less likely to buckle up during the summer months.

Drivers and passengers who do not buckle up are more likely to be killed in car crashes. Teens are more likely to be involved in serious car crashes compared to older drivers. Teen passengers can create deadly distractions for inexperienced teen drivers. Teen drivers carrying two or more teen passengers are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash compared to teens driving alone.

Be aware that teen drivers are most likely to be involved in a serious car crash during the first 6-12 months of unsupervised driving. Most car crashes involving teen drivers are due to driver inexperience. Newly licensed drivers generally know how to deal safely with a few traffic situations, however, they tend to overestimate their driving skills and underestimate driving hazards.

Take Steps to Protect Your Teen Driver

  • Talk to your teen about the dangers of teen driving and ways to reduce the risk of a crash and injuries. For more information about teen driving safety, go to www.dmv.ny.gov or www.health.ny.gov
  • Make sure your teen complies with the NYS Graduated Driver Licensing Law and traffic laws. A GDL law allows teens to safely get driving experience before getting all of the privileges of driving. Discuss the GDL with your teen and how the law protects teen drivers. Restrictions for nighttime driving, driving with teen passengers and cell phone use should be strictly enforced.
  • Stress the importance of seatbelt use. NYS law requires junior licensed drivers and their passengers to ride restrained.
  • Use a written parent/teen driving agreement to manage your teen's driving during the first six months of licensure. Parents who set rules and monitor their teens' driving behavior in a supportive way can lower their teens' crash risk by half. For samples of parent/teen driving agreements go to NYS Department of Motor Vehicles website and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

For more information about the NYS GDL and other useful tools to manage your teen's driving, go to www.dmv.ny.gov.

Sample News Release

Memorial Day Kicks Off "100 Deadly Days of Summer for Teen Drivers"

Teens are now enjoying the rewards of summer, such as trips to the beach and spending time with friends. With a carefree attitude, hundreds of teens get in their vehicles, all too often, without even thinking twice about the dangers of driving.

Memorial Day through Labor Day is considered the "100 Deadly Days of Summer" for teen drivers in New York State. A national survey conducted by the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) indicate that few teens (9%) believe summer driving can be dangerous. However, New York State motor vehicle crash data from 2003-2009 indicates that the summer months are a high-risk time for teen crashes resulting in serious, potentially fatal injuries. In addition, sixteen and seventeen year-old drivers are more likely to participate in high risk driving behaviors, such as failing to buckle up and having multiple teen passengers in the car.

The New York Partnership for Teen Driving Safety, a workgroup consisting of local and state stakeholders addressing teen driving safety issues, and (name of agency) are conducting a statewide campaign targeting teen drivers and their parents to raise awareness of the risks of teen driving related crashes during the summer months. The campaign activities promote safe driving practices to teens, as well as parental involvement and management of teen driving behaviors.

"Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of unintentional deaths and hospitalizations for sixteen to seventeen year-olds in New York State," said (name and title) of the (local health/traffic safety agency name). "Every day approximately six teen drivers are treated at hospitals for injuries sustained in these incidents. This number would fill close to 88 high school classrooms."

In addition, the issue of teen driving related injuries is a public health problem that affects everyone. More than two-thirds of crash deaths involving NYS teen drivers involved someone other than the driver. The largest proportion of passengers killed or injured in vehicles with drivers ages 16-17 were their peers, ages 16-17.

Driver inexperience is the leading cause of crashes involving teen drivers. Most crashes are not caused by teens who drive recklessly. According to a national study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, nearly half of the car crashes involving teen drivers were caused by driver errors. These errors include the lack of ''scanning'' skill to assess the environment sufficiently while behind the wheel and; driving too fast for road conditions (not necessarily exceeding the speed limit, or being distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle. Driving inexperience coupled with distractions, such as the presence of teen passengers and cell phone use, is a scenario that can greatly increase the risk of a deadly car crash.

In addition, new research indicates that a teen's brain does not function like an adult. The part of the brain that manages emotional maturity, risk taking, and is most responsible for driving skills is not fully developed until age 25. Due to this fact, teens are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as impaired driving, distracted driving and speeding, and do not fully comprehend the potential tragic consequences of these behaviors. "The good news is that motor vehicle crashes involving teen drivers are preventable," said (insert name). "Junior licensed teen drivers can reduce the risk of a crash by complying with the night-time and teen passenger restrictions of the NYS Graduated Driver Licensing Law (GDL)." The provisions of the GDL allow young drivers to safely gain driving experience before obtaining full driving privileges.

Parents who set rules and monitor their teens' driving behavior in a supportive way can lower their teens' crash risk by half. A written parent/teen driving agreement is a tool to help parents manage their teen's driving during the first year of unsupervised driving. Samples of parent/teen driving agreements can be found by visiting the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles website and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Additional teen driving management tools, such as the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Teen Electronic Event Notification Service (TEENS) Program, Withdrawal of Driver License Consent Form, and teen driving safety information for parents, can be found at www.dmv.ny.gov For more information about teen driving safety, go to www.health.ny.gov or www.safeny.ny.gov

Sample Twitter Messages

  • Check out the iDriveSmart videos for how to be a safe driver!
  • Driver inexperience is the main cause of teen car crashes. Spend at least 50 hours supervising your teen's driving.
  • Just passed your road test? Think twice before giving rides to friends. Teen passengers increase your risk of a crash. Be safe, say no.
  • Parent of teen driver? Teens are likely to adopt your driving habits. Set a good example. Drive safely and responsibly.
  • New teen driver in the house? Use a parent/teen contract to manage your teen's driving. Go to www.health.ny.gov.
  • Driver distraction is a factor in 1 out of 5 crashes in NY. Sign the Put It Down pledge.
  • Nearly 6000 people died in crashes resulting from drivers using a cell phone! Don't talk and drive!
  • Teen Drivers: Do you know NYS Graduated Driver Licensing law? Learn about the law.
  • Didn't see that coming...Be Smart. Drive Smart.
  • Teens are more likely to be involved in car crashes during the summer. For safe driving tips, visit www.teendriversource.org.
  • Be Smart. Learn how to Share the Road!!
  • Parents: Use a teen/parent driving contract to manage your teens driving.
  • Don't Drive Distracted.
  • Distracted driving killed nearly 5500 people last year and injured 500,000 more.
  • In a rush? Avoid speeding. Getting safely to your destination should be your #1 priority. For more info, visit www.teendriversource.org.
  • Make sure you and your friends buckle up EVERY time. Seatbelts save lives!
  • Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for teens. Drive safe this summer! To learn more, visit www.safeny.ny.gov.
  • Texting while driving is deadly. Keep your eyes on the road and your fingers off the cell!
  • Most fatal crashes involving 16-17 year-old teen drivers occur between 9pm-midnight. Drive safely! Follow nighttime driving restrictions.
  • No text message is worth your life. Take the no phone zone pledge.

Sample Facebook Messages

  • Sunscreen? Check. Towel? Check. Seatbelt? Check. Every month, about twelve 14-17 year olds in NYS are killed or seriously injured because they were not wearing seatbelts. Make sure everyone buckles up every time to arrive safely to your destination.
  • Parent of teen driver? Teens are likely to adopt your driving habits. Set a good example. Avoid speeding, cell phone use and abide by NYS driving laws.
  • Just got your license? It's about safety. It's about your life. Follow the NYS Graduated Drivers Licensing law.
  • Teens riding with teen drivers can be deadly distractions. Teen drivers carrying two or more teen passengers are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash compared to teens driving alone.
  • Distracted driving is a leading cause of teen driver crashes.
  • Unbuckled back seat passengers can be "back seat bullets." They can kill or seriously injure themselves and others in the car. Be safe. Buckle up every time in every position.
  • Driving drowsy can be as dangerous as driving drunk. Prevent drowsy driving-related crashes by pulling over to the side of the road when tired.
  • No text message or cell phone call is worth risking your life. Be smart. Pull over to the side of the road if you need to use your cell phone. For more information on distracted driving, visit www.distraction.gov
  • Speeding is a leading cause of teen crashes and easy to prevent. Simply leave early so you don't feel rushed to get to your destination. Always drive the posted speed limit!
  • Are you the parent of a sixteen or seventeen year-old driver? It's important for your teen to follow the NYS Graduated Driver License law to be safe on the road.
  • Parents who manage and monitor their teen's driving cut their crash risk in half. Use a parent/teen driving agreement to protect your teen driver.
  • Are you concerned about your teen's reckless driving? NYS parents of junior licensed drivers can file a form to withdraw their teen's license.
  • Take charge of your teen's driving. Sign up for the New York State Teen Electronic Event Notification Service (TEENS).

Resources

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