Thursday, April 24, 2014

Apps for parents curb distracted teen drivers

From:  The Washington Post

Among all drivers involved in fatal crashes, teens were the most likely to have been distracted, National Highway Traffic Administration data show.

“They feel invincible,” said Jurek Grabowski, director of research at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “They have large social networks and they want to stay in contact with them.”

Conversations on the go, texting, surfing the Internet and taking selfies are such a habit among teens that studies show they underestimate the risk. Teens make up a significant percentage of the approximately 660,000 drivers who are having phone conversations or manipulating electronic devices while driving at any given moment during daylight hours in the United States.

And most teenagers who chat, text or surf while driving are breaking the law.

The District and 37 states — including Maryland and Virginia — ban novice drivers from talking on the phone while driving. The three local jurisdictions and 41 other states bar all drivers from sending and receiving text messages while driving. But respect for those laws is akin to that given the speed limit.

“We need to almost turn this thing into a brick,” David Coleman said recently, holding up his cellphone while sitting in a Bowie Starbucks. “It can’t just be about texting. It has to be about e-mail, Facebook and no inappropriate calls.”

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Loud talking likely to cause distracted driving

From:  Z News

Researchers recruited 52 North Carolina high-school age drivers to have in-vehicle cameras mounted in their cars and trucks to observe distracted driving behaviors and distracted conditions when teen drivers were behind the wheel.

Young drivers were recorded in a variety of real-world driving situations over six months - with parents in the car, with other teens in the car and alone.

The study showed that young drivers were less likely to use cell phones and other technology (including in-vehicle systems, like the radio and temperature control) when there were passengers in the car with them.

But having multiple passengers in the car more often led to more serious incidents.

Teen drivers were six times more likely to have a serious incident when there was loud conversation in the vehicle - to the point of needing to make an evasive manoeuvre to avoid a crash - and three times more likely to have a serious incident when there was horseplay in the vehicle.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Parents can do more to help kids learn to drive safely

From: Reuters

Parents may be missing some good teachable moments when their kids are learning to drive, U.S. researchers say.

Recordings of parent-child pairs when the child was driving found a little over half of the talk was driving related - much of it simple instructions or criticism - but parents rarely discussed deeper driving wisdom, like how to anticipate and avoid hazards.

"The whole topic of how parents supervise their teens has been a 'black box' for years," said Arthur Goodwin at the Highway Safety Research Center at the University of North Carolina, who led the new study.

"We really had no idea what they're trying to accomplish, how they go about trying to teach their teens and what they're doing when they're supervising the teens," he told Reuters Health.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Your Healthy Family: Keeping Teens Safe

From:  KOAA New 5

April is "Distracted Driving Awareness" month.
The non-profit "Drive Smart Colorado" - which partners with colorado springs police - has a new online teen driver safety program for parents to help keep your kids safe behind the wheel.
"A statistic it's not just a number it's a human being," said Maile Gray, Executive Director for Drive Smart Colorado.
She says the free online program will help parents support their teens through our states Graduated Driver Licensing law.
"This site has several modules. You can take it at your leisure and it walks you through the key components of our laws that are put in place to prevent traffic crashes and fatalities of teenagers," she said.
Since the law was increased to include things like passenger restrictions and night time curfews teen deaths have decreased.
"In 2004 -107 teenagers died in Colorado, last year 36 teenagers died, you can see right there that because Graduating Driver Licensing went into effect - the teen fatality rate has absolutely plummeted," said Gray.
But there was a slight up-tick last year in fatalities.
"It rose 10 percent, and while that might not seem like much, it signifies the death of teenagers and that is huge!" Gray said.
They're hoping to empower parents to help enforce the law and save more lives.

For more information head to Drive Smart Colorado or view the News 5 Broadcast.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

PowerTalk21 Discussion

April 21, 2014
Register on the  MADD website

MADD's annual PowerTalk21 initiative is a campaign throughout April to encourage parents to talk to their kids about alcohol. The national MADD office has new survey information about parent influence on teen drinking behavior and is promoting the Power of Parents program this month. The Power of Parents program includes a free online workshop (in English and in Spanish) for parents on April 21. The data indicates that teens whose parents send a clear message that drinking is completely unacceptable are 80% less likely to drink alcohol underage.

Other outcomes:
Research shows that people who don't drink until age 21 are:
  • More than 80 percent less likely to abuse alcohol or become alcohol-dependent later in life than those who drink before age 15
  • 70 percent less likely to drive drunk later in life than those who drink before age 14
  • 85 percent less likely to be involved in an alcohol-related traffic crash later in life than those who drink before age 14
  • More than 90 percent less likely to be injured while under the influence of alcohol later in life than those who drink before age 15
  • 90 percent less likely to be in a fight after drinking later in life than those who drink before age 15
Please register for the discussion and promote in your community using the PowerTalk21 flyers (in English and in Spanish).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Just Get It Across: A Parent-Directed Demonstration Program to Increase Young Teen Seat Belt Use | NHTSA

From: Children's Safety Network

The purpose of this NHTSA study was to conduct an independent evaluation to assess a demonstration seat belt program, Just Get It Across, which was developed by the Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio (Rainbow Babies) to increase seat belt use by 13- to 15-year-old teens through parental influence. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 13- to 15-year-old teens. While seat belt use has been an effective method to prevent injury from motor vehicle crashes, data from the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) and Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) suggest that this period may be a critical time when safe occupant protection habits begin to decline and intervention to encourage belt use is needed. Most teens in the 13- to 15-year-old age group are not yet licensed to drive independently and rely on transportation provided by others, often parents or guardians. Recent research has also found that some parents find that there is a gap in messaging directed to them regarding seat belt safety after their children have out grown their booster seats. This may contribute to a lost opportunity to help parents promote belt use by their young teen children in this critical period leading to the start of independent driving and progressively lower seat belt use rates during the early licensure years. According to recent research, 8- to 15-year-old children reported that belt use reminders and encouragement from parents were the best ways to encourage them to use seat belts. However, parents did not seem to realize the potential of their influence and thought that outside motivators would be most effective at encouraging their children to use seat belts. Parents can play important roles in motor vehicle injury prevention and these findings suggest that programs to help parents influence their 13- to 15-year-old children to use seat belts are needed.

Click here to download the publication

Monday, April 14, 2014

Why the Focus Should Be on “Engaged Driving” for Teens

From: The Children's Hospital Philadelphia

While working with other auto safety researchers over the past year as part of a distracted driving panel organized by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) and State Farm®, I have been introduced to the term “engaged driving” and prefer it to the term “distracted driving.” I think it better describes what we want drivers to do to be safe.

There always has, and always will be, sources of distraction to drivers in and outside the vehicle. The term “distracted driving” is relatively new in auto safety, and I suspect that most people think it refers to texting/ emailing/making calls from a phone while driving. But distracted driving is a complex issue that extends beyond a driver’s smartphone. The ultimate goal of any related intervention is to keep the driver engaged in driving-related tasks, despite a number of potential sources of distraction. Experts on our panel examined the topic from many angles in order to better understand the broader issue of driver engagement and to inform efforts to develop interventions that encourage engaged driving by experienced adult and novice teen drivers.Research into how young drivers make decisions about how often and under what circumstances they’re likely to “disengage” from the driving task will help us understand how best to motivate teens to remain fully engaged and prevent crashing, especially in higher risk situations.

Remaining fully engaged with driving is particularly important for teens for a couple of reasons:
Because of their inexperience behind the wheel, teens are not as capable of evaluating when a driving situation might not need their full attention for a brief period of time.
It’s likely that teens are motivated differently than adults. Due to this fact, we can’t simply take what works best to motivate adults to help teens remain engaged while driving.