Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Announces Support of National Teen Driver Safety Week
Attorney General Jack Conway today announced his support for National Teen Driver Safety Week to be held October 19-25, 2008. National Teen Driver Safety Week, observed each year during the third week of October, is designed to educate teens and raise awareness about the tragedy of teen vehicle crashes and encourage youth to drive more safely. This year’s theme, “Passengers,” focuses on increasing passenger awareness of how they may contribute to driver distraction.
“Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. and in Kentucky. While teens represent only 6% of Kentucky drivers, they account for 19% of all people involved in injury collisions and 13% of those involved in fatal collisions in the state,” General Conway said.
Also troubling are the statistics on youth alcohol-related crashes. In 2007, 519 teenage drivers were involved in alcohol-related collisions resulting in 12 fatalities, half of which were the teenage driver. According to Kentucky State Police, 3,108 teen drivers between the ages of 16-19 were arrested last year for driving under the influence.
“Working closely with victim’s advocacy groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, our office knows all too well the heartbreak behind these statistics,” said General Conway, who is also a member of the National Association of Attorneys General’s Youth Access to Alcohol Committee. This committee works to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors.
There are several important facts regarding the incidence of teens involved in vehicle crashes. Driver error or speeding is the leading cause of teen driver crashes. Cell phones, texting, food/beverage consumption and loud music are also dangerous distractions.
“Youth drivers need to know that the phone call and texting can wait. There is nothing more important than getting from point A to point B safely,” General Conway said.
Kentucky has taken steps forward in protecting teen drivers through its graduated teen-licensing law and increasing the time young drivers must have adult supervision.
“I also applaud the Kentucky State Police ‘Drive to Stay Alive’ program for teen drivers. However, more needs to be done to ensure students are aware of the severity of a vehicle crash and the very real consequences to themselves, their passengers and the general public of operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner,” General Conway said.
Attorney General Conway now asks that the public join him to help keep our teen drivers and our roadways safe.
“We all- federal, state, local governments and the public- need to support efforts to effectively educate teens and families about ways to address increased safety measures for teen drivers. Now is the time to talk with your children and grandchildren to prevent future tragedies.”