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Community Health

Choose the Right Road

 

Helping you and your family stay safe on the road

Community programs and initiatives

Parent of a teen driver classes: These informational classes for parents and teens provide information on the Colorado Graduated Driver's Licensing (GDL) process and give attendees tools and resources to foster a smart teen driver.

Teen safe driver programs: The evidence based curriculum BrainWise® is used in school presentations to teach students about adolescent brain development and how this relates to making smart choices surrounding learning to drive and driving.

Distracted driving prevention: Promotion of no cell phone use or other distractions while driving a motor vehicle for all ages through education and awareness.

Click it or Ticket Seat belt education: Promotion and awareness of seat belt use and enforcement of Colorado seat belt laws for all drivers.

Driving Under the Influence prevention: In Colorado, a zero tolerance law prohibits drivers under the age of 21 to drive a vehicle under the influence of intoxicants. This is also included in Colorado GDL laws for teen drivers. This scope of the program includes teaching teens about how drugs and alcohol affect driving ability and the adolescent brain.

 

Know the statistics: Tips to stay safe on the road

#1) A recent study indicated fewer than 10% of parents were aware of resources to help them guide their teens in the learning-to-drive process (Trafficsafety.org, 2011).

Tip: Start by learning Colorado's Graduated Driver's Licensing (GDL) laws to put your teen safely in the driver's seat.

#2) Teens are less likely than adults to understand the risks of driving because they lack experience. Their brains are still developing, affecting judgment while driving (Colorado Department of Transportation, 2010).

Tip: Be certain that your teen understands that their developing brain isn't able to immediately understand consequences as easily as adults over the age of 25. That is why they need to be taught to form habits such as stopping and thinking before they make a decision.

#3) Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young adults aged 15-20. Additionally, 16-year-old drivers have the highest crash involvement rate of any age group in Colorado and are nearly three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than the average of all other drivers (Colorado Department of Transportation, 2010).

Tip: Enroll your teen in driver's education, supervise your teen's driving, set family rules and limits by creating a Parent/Teen Driving Contract, and lastly impose consequences for violations.

#4) A texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into an accident than a non-texting driver (Colorado Department of Transportation, 2012).

Tip: When you're in your car, it's tempting to text while you're driving. Even if you wait until you're at a stoplight, or paused in traffic, it's not safe. It's also against Colorado law. If you need to make an urgent call while driving, resist the urge and pull over.

#5) U.S. Department of Transportation statistics indicate distracted driving contributes to as much as 20 percent of all fatal crashes, and that cell phones are the primary source of driver distractions (2011).

Tip: Start the habit of putting your phone on silent or in the glove box every time you drive a motor vehicle. Ignore it; pretend it isn't in the car.

#6) In 2010, 166 people who weren't buckled up lost their lives in traffic crashes on Colorado roadways. If everyone had buckled up, nearly half of the victims would have lived (Colorado Department of Transportation, 2011).

Tip: Take the extra two seconds to buckle your seat belt. Doing so is the single most effective way to prevent serious injuries and fatalities from motor vehicle crashes. Don't forget that occupant protection is for everyone including all ages, abilities, and pregnant women.

#7) Each year in Colorado, more than 26,000 people are arrested for DUI/DWAI and over 150 people are killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes, representing more than one-third of Colorado's total motor vehicle fatalities. Drug-impaired driving is also a serious problem, with 16% of fatalities (2006-2010) involving drivers who tested positive for drugs (Colorado Department of Transportation, 2012).

Tip: Be aware that there is a zero tolerance alcohol limit for any driver under the age of 21. Drugs, even prescription drugs can also equal a DUI for all drivers.

#8) An adolescent is particularly vulnerable to partaking in risky behaviors such as driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2005). This is in large part due to adolescent brain development and that the last area of the brain to mature is the pre-frontal cortex region. This region of the brain is involved in planning, decision making, and impulse control (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2011).

Tip: Be sure to send your teen to a quality driving school that teaches teens about the risks associated with driving under the influence. Additionally, parents teach teens skills that are not naturally instilled in the teen brain. This includes skills for impulse control, social decision making, and dealing with risky situations (Winters, 2011).

Resources

trafficsafety.org

distraction.gov

brainwise-plc.org

coteendriver.com

seatbeltscolorado.com

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

noduicolorado.org

 

Contact

Nicole Teel for more information and upcoming parent of a teen driver class dates at net@pvhs.org or 970.495.7509.

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University of Colorado Health
Fort Collins, Colorado
970.495.7000
PVHS@pvhs.org

 

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