KOHS and State Farm partner to promote teen safe driving habits
FRANKFORT, Ky. – In honor of National Teen Driver Safety Week, Oct. 17-24, representatives from the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) and State Farm Insurance today visited students at Western Hills High School in Frankfort to raise awareness of safe driving practices to Kentucky’s teenagers.
“Young drivers are four times as likely as adults to be killed in a car crash,” said KOHS Executive Director Chuck Geveden. “Driver distraction, lack of experience and skill, alcohol and the lack of seatbelt usage all contribute to the high number of fatalities in this age group.”
Last year in Kentucky, there were 28,207 total crashes involving drivers under 21 years of age. These crashes resulted in 9,348 injuries and 136 fatalities.
“Car crashes remain the number one killer of teens and October continues to be our single biggest battleground month,” said Lisa Ripley, spokeswoman for State Farm Insurance. “While promoting teen driver safety requires a year-round commitment, the fall time frame is critically important. As teens return to school, attend homecoming and begin managing very busy schedules, we want them to keep safe driving practices at the top of their minds because our data shows this is one of the most dangerous times of year for teens to be on the road.”
Students drove the KOHS distracted driving (D2) simulator, which gives lifelike exposure to the dangers of distracted driving without putting teenagers at risk by mimicking and displaying the handling characteristics of a vehicle. Drivers can receive and send phone calls and text messages while attempting to obey the rules of the road.
“The growth in popularity of electronic devices is vying for the attention of young drivers over the act of driving itself,” said Geveden. “Far too often, the devices are winning and our kids are losing.”
Distracted driving comes in many forms, from texting and talking on a cell phone, to eating, playing with a radio, and talking to passengers. All too often, the result is tragic.
In 2009 teenage drivers accounted for 14,505 distracted driving related crashes, resulting in 4,531 injuries and 40 fatalities on Kentucky roadways.
Kentucky’s new texting law bans texting for all drivers while the vehicle is in motion. For drivers under 18, use of all personal communication devices such as cell phones and pagers is not allowed while the vehicle is in motion.
For more information about teen driving safety, please visit www.nhtsa.gov; www.distraction.gov; and http://highwaysafety.ky.gov.