EARLY YEARS: Safety advocates say teens need to watch speed, put down the phone and wear seatbelts to avoid deadly crashes

Nationally, 19% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2020 had alcohol in their system
Teens Warned About Risks on the Road
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 5:45 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Driving is a rite of passage for teenagers. But handing over those car keys comes with risks.

“It’s something that parents can and should be talking to their young people about to help them be safe drivers,” says David Reich with the National Road Safety Foundation.

Numbers don’t lie.

Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for teens.

According to the National Road Safety Foundation, 2,276 deaths in 2020 involved a teen driver.

Nationally, 19% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2020 had alcohol in their system.

Experts say even legal drugs can lead to impaired driving.

“Parents need to tell their kids if you’re taking a cold medicine or something like that or allergy medicine, be aware that that can slow you down and make you drowsy and slow down your reaction time.

Another big concern-- distracted driving.

Cell phones have worsened the problem.

“Teens are relatively inexperienced behind the wheel, so anything that takes their mind and their eyes off the road it can be real problem,” says Reich.

Having a lead foot can also spell trouble.

31% of teen fatal crashes involve excessive speed.

“I remember when I was first driving and I had the power, you know, you feel all that power at your foot and it’s a temptation to go fast. It’s fun, but it’s dangerous,” says Reich.

As with most things, it takes a village and vigilance on the part of parents to help prevent teen crashes.

“We just have to keep trying to get the message out, talk to drivers, talk to parents and hope that they will listen and try to keep their young people and all of us safe,” says Reich.