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Getting your first license is a right of passage anticipated by teens the world over. Unfortunately, the leading cause of death among American teens is car crashes. In 2009, more than 40,000 drivers under the age of 21 were involved in motor vehicle collisions on Indiana roadways. Of these, 48 sustained a fatal injury.
In a proactive approach to help educate teens about the importance of safe driving practices, the Governor’s Council on Impaired & Dangerous Driving and the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) are working with parents, teachers, legislators and traffic safety advocates to increase awareness about teen driver safety and empower students with the resources they need to drive responsibly.
One of the greatest risk factors teen drivers face is the number of passengers in the vehicle. Studies have confirmed that with the presence of just one passenger, teens are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash. Few teens recognize the increased risk of a crash while passengers are present in the vehicle.
One way young drivers can become better equipped to handle the road is through graduated driver licensing (GDL). GDL systems address the high risks new drivers face by letting them get their initial driving experience under low-risk conditions.
To reinforce the importance of this issue, Teen Driver Safety Week is observed each October to promote outreach efforts that encourage communities to support the families of young drivers. In Indiana, organizations like Indiana Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) are getting involved by hosting events across the state that speak directly to young drivers about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving. For more information visit http://www.in.gov/ruletheroad/.