Biggest killer of teens? Car crashes.
When I read that, I assumed it was due to texting- WRONG. More than half of the 2,439 teens killed in car crashes in 2012 were not wearing a seat belt. As a parent of 4 young adults, I was shocked at this statistic. When I was a preschooler, seat belts were not even standard equipment in a vehicle and we only had one car at home. Ever since I began driving at 16, I have religiously worn my seat belt and I have taught my children to do the same. Over 1,200 teen deaths could have been prevented by a seat belt! A sobering thought. Every day we set an example when we get into our car and put on or own seatbelt and require passengers to do the same. What example did you set today?
According to a report “Teens in Cars” which is compiled by Safe Kids Worldwide, a global organization dedicated to preventing children’s injuries, wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of death for front seat passengers by 45%. Illinois law requires every driver and passenger in a vehicle to be wearing a seat belt- fines start at $25 for non-compliance. Seat belt laws cannot protect teens from themselves- their brains are not fully developed and they are risk takers by nature. According to the General Motors Foundation, one in 4 teens doesn’t wear their seat belt because they forgot or are not in the habit of wearing it. Set an example today- buckle up and require your children to do the same, no matter what their age.
We as parents, put a lot of time into helping our children with studies, sports and other extra curricular activities- shouldn’t we spend at least that much time (or MORE) teaching our teens to become more experienced drivers? Go to www.buckleupillinois.org and review the three driving phases for teens:
1) Permit phase age 15
2) Initial licensing phase ages 16-17
3) Full licensing phase ages 18-20
Help prevent a teen death today- review this information with your teen driver and insist that they wear their seatbelt every time they get in a vehicle as a driver or as a passenger.