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Crashes cause more teen deaths than disease, violence

RALEIGH – Governor Cooper has proclaimed Oct. 15-21 as Teen Driver Safety Week to highlight motor vehicle crashes as being the leading cause of death of teenagers in North Carolina, ahead of all other types of injury, disease or violence.  The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program is stressing the importance of parental engagement with their teenagers before they get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle by reminding them to “5 to Drive.”

The “5 to Drive” campaign gives parents tips on how to talk about safe driving with their teens and to address the five most dangerous and deadly driving behaviors: alcohol, lack of seat belt use, distracted driving, speeding, and extra passengers.

“Parents have a very convincing influence on their teens, even as they grow older and become more independent,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program.  “We are encouraging parents and caregivers to have the conversation with their teen drivers about risky driving behaviors that can lead to serious injuries or even death.”

In 2016, 87 teenaged drivers ages 15 to 19 years old were killed and another 10,453 were injured in North Carolina.  Forty-two of those killed were not using their seat belts at the time of the crash and 49 were speeding. This year to date, 48 teens have lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes.

North Carolina’s Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program is a multi-layered program designed to ease teen novice drivers into full driving privileges as they become more mature and develop their driving skills. The program places certain restrictions on teenagers under the age of 18 who have learner permits and driver licenses, and requires parental involvement and stresses the importance of a good driving behavior.

Parents can find more information about talking to their young drivers at https://www.safercar.gov/parents/TeenDriving/fivetodrive.htm

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