As part of Teen Driving Safety Week, this week, many companies are offering suggestions for better teen driving, statistics and research. To combat teens driving while drowsy parents can be have conversations and teens can sign contracts. In a social media contest, teens capture parents distracted driving to share and discuss.
Wake Up Call About Teen Drowsy Driving
Teens’ lives are increasingly hectic from extracurricular activities, homework, work and other activities, all of which are likely to leave teens sleep deprived. As daylight grows shorter and mornings are darker, new research conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) reveals that over half (56 percent) of licensed teens admit to having driven when they felt too tired to drive their best, 32 percent are driving drowsy at least sometimes, and nearly one in ten teens have completely fallen asleep at the wheel while driving.
“Drowsiness impairs driving performance and reaction time,” said William Horrey, Ph.D., principal research scientist at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety. “When our brains are tired, our attention, judgment and ability to act are greatly impacted, which has the potential for disaster on the road, particularly if there’s inclement weather or a critical situation requiring quick response. The situation can be exacerbated when the driver is a teenager without much experience. If parents, however, address this issue head on, they can foster safer driving practices to help remind their teens of the importance of staying alert on the road.”
Parents may also be unwittingly contributing to drowsy driving behaviors. In fact, 39 percent of teens surveyed said that household and family responsibilities impacted their sleep but only 11 percent of parents believed this contributed to their teens not getting an adequate amount. Additionally, 42 percent of teens said they aren’t getting enough sleep due to early morning activities, whereas only 19 percent of parents think the activities are the culprit.
“The pressures of school, sports, extracurricular activities and friends can be overwhelming, and teens may not always have the confidence or self-awareness to raise a hand and ask for help if they’re running on empty,” said Dr. Gene Beresin, senior advisor on adolescent psychiatry with SADD and Executive Director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Parents should have routine conversations with their teens beginning with open-ended questions to gauge the teen’s perspective on why they may be prone to drowsy driving. One good path to less worry is for parents to help teens map out their schedules to ensure they get enough sleep before early morning activities and have a ride home if staying out late.”
How Parents can Help Prevent Teens from Driving Drowsy
When it comes to changing teens’ behaviors on the road, it’s essential for parents to realize the important role that they play. Liberty Mutual and SADD offer the following tips:
- Be flexible: 56 percent of teens have taken measures to wake up (i.e., opening up the windows) when driving. Proactively talk to your teens about how they manage their busy schedules to ensure they stay alert behind the wheel. Parents should also be open to candid feedback on how the teen’s schedule may need adjusting.
- Call for a ride: 34 percent of teens admit to having called for a ride instead of driving when they’re too tired. Teach teens to call for a ride and research options in advance if they feel they are at risk of falling asleep.
- Set Expectations: Parents and teens should use the Teen Driving Contract from Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD as a conversation starter and discussion guide. This tool covers important safety issues and is an easy roadmap for parents and teens alike to uphold family driving rules.
Teens Are Using Smartphones While Driving
Over 80 percent of teens said when surveyed that they use their smartphones while driving. According to a new report from State Farm, American teens who choose to be distracted by their smartphones when they’re behind the wheel are also more likely to participate in other dangerous driving behaviors, like speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or failing to wear a seatbelt.
In July, 2016 State Farm conducted a survey of teen drivers ages 16-19 which explored distracted driving behaviors. A strong relationship was revealed between teens’ willingness to use their smartphones while driving and participating in these other risky behaviors.
A clear relationship also emerged between admitted smartphone use behind the wheel and self-reported car crashes. Compared to those who have not been in a crash, those who have been in a crash were more than three times more likely to report watching videos and browsing the internet while driving and two to three times more likely to send and read texts, take pictures, record video, read and update social media, and play games on their cellphone while driving.
“Young drivers learn many of their driving behaviors from their parents,” says Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm. “In our survey, teens who indicated that their parents used cellphones while driving were more likely to report participating in many of these distracting activities. This tells us that parents have it in their power to help alleviate these dangerous activities by demonstrating safe driving themselves.”
Other findings from the survey include:
- The majority of teens understand that using their cellphone while driving is dangerous, and they also know that it is illegal. When asked why they still participate in these behaviors, top reasons included wanting to stay in touch with family and friends, and “it is a habit.”
- Those teens who refrain from using their smartphone while driving report doing so for safety reasons, and because it is illegal in their state.
- Teen drivers’ perceptions about their state laws impact their driving behavior. Regardless of the actual law, teens were more likely to use their phones while driving if they thought it was legal to do so, and less likely if they thought it was illegal.
- Those survey respondents who have their own car were significantly more likely to participate in distracting behaviors while driving than were those who share the family car.
Read full report with survey results can be downloaded from the State Farm Newsroom page.
Professional Drivers Help Teens to Drive Safely
The best teachers for teen drivers could be UPS drivers. To help keep teens safe on the road, The UPS Foundation teamed up with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to create UPS Road Code, a national program educating teens on safe driving techniques.
Now in its ninth year, the highly successful UPS Road Code program enables teens to drive change for themselves and their peers through a combination of classroom-based instruction and practice “behind the wheel” of a virtual driving simulator. In addition to the hands-on support of the volunteer UPS instructors, the program now offers online resources for parents and teen drivers to prepare for the realities of the road. To date the program has reached more than 25,000 participants since its launch in 2009 and is available in 54 Boys & Girls Clubs throughout 44 U.S. cities as well as in five countries around the world.
UPS Road Code provides participants with unparalleled training from UPS employees committed to safety within their communities. Taught by approximately 125 UPS employees trained as volunteer instructors, the program is largely based on the same methods used by UPS drivers, who are known for their safe driving techniques. In fact, UPS’s 102,000 drivers worldwide are among the safest on the roads, logging more than three billion miles per year and delivering more than four billion packages safely. UPS also has 8,703 members in its “Circle of Honor” program, recognizing drivers who can boast 25 years or more of safe driving.
The program focuses on different safety principles, from basic instruction to the consequences of risky behaviors such as talking on cell phones, texting or drinking while driving. Teens practice what they’ve learned on the driving simulators, which feature a computer screen that serves as a windshield to the program’s interactive animation, a steering wheel and life-like gas and brake pedals.
Driving Change Through Free Events & Resources
Throughout 2016, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and The UPS Foundation continue to drive awareness of UPS Road Code and educate teens by hosting free community events at local Boys & Girls Clubs in various cities throughout the country. Events include fun activities and challenges, as well as the chance for attendees to interact with the program’s driving simulators. Participants also have the opportunity to sign a petition, pledging to make the roads safer by not driving distracted.
In addition, teens nationwide have the opportunity to make a difference and drive change for themselves and their peers. Using social media, such as the UPS Road Code page, teens can share online tools and resources developed to spread the word about road safety. From tips and statistics to an online quiz and info on safe driving techniques, the program helps teens be aware of the potential dangers they may face on the road and enables them to share those insights with friends and family.
Furthermore, the UPS Road Code Ambassador program, which debuted this year, rewards teens that demonstrate superb safe driving techniques and serves to educate their peers on the dangers of distracted driving. This year the program also announced that Liberty Mutual Insurance is offering up to 10 percent discount in all 50 states to UPS Road Code graduates.
The UPS Road Code program is available to teens at Boys & Girls Clubs in the following cities:
1. Aberdeen, Md.
12. Elk River, Minn.
23. Memphis, Tenn.
34. Phoenix, Ariz.
2. Atlanta, Ga.
13. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
24. Milwaukee, Wisc.
35. Portland, Ore.
3. Benton Harbor, M.I.
14. Hartford, Conn.
25. Mobile, Ala.
36. San Francisco, Calif.
4. Boston, Mass.
15. Jackson, Miss.
26. Naples, Fla.
37. San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
5. Bronx, N.Y.
16. Jacksonville, Fla.
27. New Orleans, La.
38. Scottsdale, Ariz.
6. Carson, Calif.
17. Jersey City, N.J.
28. New York, N.Y.
39. St. Louis, Mo.
7. Chicago, Ill.
18. Kansas City, Mo.
29. Oakland, Calif.
40. St. Paul, Minn.
8. Cleveland, Ohio
19. Las Vegas, Nev.
30. Omaha, Neb.
41. Tampa, Fla.
9. Columbus, Ohio
20. Little Rock, Ark.
31. Orlando, Fla.
42. Tucson, Ariz.
10. Dallas, Texas
21. Los Angeles, Calif.
32. Philadelphia, Pa.
43. Washington, DC
11. Detroit, Mich.
22. Manchester, N.H
33. Pinellas Park, Fla.
44. Zionsville, IN
Teens, parents and others interested in learning more about safe driving, the UPS Road Code program and access to new tools and tips should visit www.bgca.org/roadcode.
More Tools for Parents
Parents are crucial role models for teens learning to drive, yet many parents lack awareness of their own risky driving. As part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, eDriving, the largest provider of online driver training and global driver safety management solutions, is launching a campaign to help parents better understand their own driving in order to be better role models.
Free Teen Driver Safety Week Resources
eDriving’s free Teen Driver Safety Week toolkit is offered through its DriversEd.com brand and is available at learn.driversed.com/distracted-driving and features a broad range of elements:
RoadRISK assessment – This globally validated driver risk assessment is designed to help drivers assess their probability of being involved in an incident or collision. eDriving’s RoadRISK self-assessment explores knowledge of defensive driving best practices, travel patterns, vehicle use and more. At the end of the assessment, participants receive a score benchmarking their risk rating to over 500,000 drivers who have completed the self-assessment. The score reflects their attitudes toward driving and behaviors behind the wheel.
“Ask A Driving Instructor” – Throughout Teen Driver Safety Week, eDriving’s DriversEd.com driving instructors and experts will be posting video responses on social media to questions asked on Twitter and Facebook. Anyone can submit a question at email@example.com.
Parent Guide – eDriving is also making available a SMART Driving Principles Guide for parents to review and discuss with younger drivers.
Teen Contest–Parent “Citations” — Teens are encouraged to help make their parents aware of their own distracted driving behaviors. Using the hashtag #viewfromthebackseat, teens are able to tag images and/or videos of their parents driving distracted and be entered in a drawing that includes cash prizes of up to $1,000 and 25 SMART Driver course packs for teens and parents. Teens can also send “distracted driving tickets” to their parents as part of the campaign. Find rules, prize information and more online.
Young Drivers’ Distracted Driving, Speeding Impaired Driving & More
A new poll released today by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) highlights the need for more parents to discuss the greatest dangers young drivers may be facing – distracted driving, lack of seat belt use, speeding, impaired driving and extra passengers.
Because parents play such an important role in influencing their teens’ decision making while driving, PCI asked parents what driving risks they have discussed with their children. The survey found that most parents had talked with their kids about using seat belts all/most of the time (65%) and texting while driving (56%). However, only about half of parents have discussed speeding (50%), talking on a cell phone while driving (47%) or driving under the influence of alcohol (46%), and even less have touched on subjects such as using social media while driving (42%), driving under the influence of marijuana (32%) or talking with passengers while driving (16%). The online survey of over 1,000 U.S. parents was conducted in September 2016 by Harris Poll on behalf of PCI.“Parents need to take the time to talk with their kids about the many dangers of driving,” said Bob Passmore, assistant vice president of policy development and research for PCI. “Over the past two years the roadways have become much more dangerous. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that motor vehicle crashes, the leading cause of deaths for teenagers in the U.S., jumped more than 10 percent since 2014. Parents need to set a good example and educate their loved ones to put the phone down and pay attention to the road.”
The survey found that nearly all parents who currently drive said they set a good example for their children by avoiding driving while distracted (90%) and parents were more likely to say they wear seat belts all or most of the time (77%) than non-parents (71%). But parents were more likely than non-parents to say they engage in activities that cause distractions such as talking on a cell phone while driving (24% vs. 18%, respectively) or eating while driving (27% vs. 17%, respectively).
“Communicating the dangers of distracted driving is particularly important because teenagers are especially vulnerable to these accidents,” said Passmore. “According to the AAA Foundation, the 15- to 19-year-old age group has the largest proportion of distracted drivers. Teens are distracted almost a quarter of the time they’re behind the wheel and they are four times more likely than adults to get into crashes or near-crashes when talking or texting on a smartphone.”
The survey also found that there is widespread agreement among an overwhelming number of parents that texting (98%), talking on a cell phone (87%), using social media (98%) or driving under the influence of drugs (98%) or alcohol (99%) are dangerous activities for someone to do while driving.
“These are some of the primary reasons why traffic accidents, fatalities and injuries are increasing—and why we’re starting to see the byproduct of these trends: rising insurance costs,” said Passmore. “Simple modifications to driver behavior can have a big impact on these alarming accident statistics, make our roads safer and keep costs down for consumers.”
During National Teen Driver Safety Week October 16-22, PCI encourages parents to reinforce five necessary rules that teen drivers need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel in a car, truck, or SUV and to talk to their teen driver about the rules of the road.
REMEMBER THE “5 to Drive”:
1.No Drinking and Driving.
Set a good example by not driving after drinking. Remind your teen that drinking before the age of 21 is illegal, and alcohol and driving should never mix, no matter your age.
2.Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Everyone—Front Seat and Back.
Lead by example. If you wear your seat belt every time you’re in the car, your teen is more likely to follow suit. Remind your teen that it’s important to buckle up on every trip, every time, no matter what (both in the front and back seats).
3.Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel. All the Time.
Remind your teen about the dangers of texting, dialing, or using mobile apps while driving. Have them make their phone off-limits when they are on the road. But distracted driving isn’t limited to phone use. Other passengers, audio and climate controls in the vehicle, and eating or drinking while driving, are all examples of dangerous distractions for teen drivers.
4.Stop Speeding Before It Stops You.
Speeding is a critical issue for all drivers, especially teens. Do not exceed the speed limit and require your teen to do the same. Explain that every time your speed doubles, your stopping distance quadruples.
5.No More Than One Passenger at Any Time.
With each passenger in the vehicle, your teen’s risk of a fatal crash goes up. Check your State’s GDL law before your teen takes to the road; it may prohibit any passengers in vehicles with teen drivers.
PCI is composed of nearly 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write more than $183 billion in annual premium, 35 percent of the nation’s property casualty insurance. Member companies write 42 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 27 percent of the homeowners market, 32 percent of the commercial property and liability market and 34 percent of the private workers compensation market.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Property Casualty Insurers Association of America from September 20-22, 2016 among 1,075 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who are parents. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Jeffrey Brewer.
SYLVANIA Automotive announced its participation in and support of the 2016 Youth Interactive Traffic Safety Lab. The event, hosted by the National Organization for Youth Safety (NOYS), will take place at the Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, Maryland.
According to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of fatal teen automotive crashes occur at night, with 57 percent of those taking place before 12 a.m. In addition, data from a recent SYLVANIA Automotive and KRC Research survey showed that 32 percent of millennials have not had either their headlights or other vehicle lights changed on their primary vehicle in more than one year, and 22 percent have never had them changed.