Message Monday - Oct. 19, 2015 - Crashes don't kill teens - bad choices do

10-19 message mondayThis week is National Teen Driver Safety Week, established by Congress in 2007 with a goal of focusing the country’s attention, raising awareness and seeking solutions to teen deaths on the road.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 14- to18-year-olds in the U.S. as a whole and specifically in Iowa. Iowa lost 33 teens last year. Nationally, in 2013, there were 2,614 teen (15- to 19-year-old) drivers involved in fatal crashes.

Yet, a recent survey shows that only 25 percent of parents have had a serious talk with their kids about the key components of safe driving. Dangers come in many forms, including driving after drinking alcohol or taking drugs, not wearing seat belts, texting behind the wheel, speeding, and the distraction that comes from having passengers in the car. Research indicates inexperience and immaturity, when combined with the dangerous behaviors already discussed, aggravate the problem.

Parents, teachers, mentors and adult influencers: You have two tasks this week:

  1. Show safe driving by example to your teens.
  2. Have a conversation with your young adult about the choices they make while driving.

The University of Iowa has done extensive research on teen driving. For more information on this, click this link:

For a compilation of teen driver crashes during these studies, click on this link:

The fatality count of 257 is an increase of three from last Monday. To see statistics published daily by the Office of Driver Services, go to







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