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NHTSA Teams With Ad Council to Promote Teen Driver Safety

NHTSA Teams With Ad Council to Promote Teen Driver Safety

By Joseph Dobrian, October 21, 2015

In recognition of National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 18-24, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a statement urging parents and guardians of teen drivers to discuss vehicle/traffic safety with their offspring daily, addressing a different safety topic each day. The NHTSA recommends talking about five topics as part of this “5 to Drive” campaign: alcohol, texting, failure to wear seat belts, speeding, and riding with extra teen passengers. These subjects should be stressed repeatedly during the learning-to-drive process.

“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. Secretary of Transportation 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.”

In 2013, 2,614 teen passenger-vehicle drivers were involved in fatal crashes and an estimated 130,000 were injured. Driving accidents are the country’s leading cause of teenage death, and the five topics to which the NHTSA urges attention are the main contributors to those statistics. The NHTSA reminds parents of the following facts:
  • The minimum legal drinking age in every state is 21. However, in 2013, among 15- to 20-year-old drivers killed in crashes, 29% had been drinking.
  • In 2013, among drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 11% 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. These distractions often happen because of texting or dialing while driving.
  • In 2013, more than half (55%) of all 15- to 20-year-old occupants of passenger vehicles killed in crashes were unrestrained.
  • In 2013, speeding was a factor in 42% of the crashes that killed 15- to 20-year-old drivers.
  • NHTSA data show 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 to do so 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.

The NHTSA has joined with the Advertising Council, a non-profit organization, to launch a new public service announcement campaign that targets new drivers aged 16 and 17. It will be built around the slogan, “Underage Drinking and Driving: The Ultimate Party Foul,” and will include a TV ad, Tumblr site, web banners, and outdoor advertising. A branded emoji keyboard will be available later on both the iOS and Android platforms.

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