We prefer not to write about topics like these, as they are so tragic and sad. However, as Orange County driving educators, dedicated to informing our citizens and teaching our young people how to be safe, skilled drivers, we have to use this opportunity to discuss an epidemic facing Orange County – and all of America – and that is our teen driving statistics. Unfortunately teenagers are statistically the worst, most dangerous people to have behind the wheel. This may seem like a very negative article, but two human lives were lost last week; something HAS to change.
Last Tuesday morning, a 17-year-old Irvine teenager lost control of his vehicle. He hit and killed two pedestrians, Richard and Sharon Crowell of Irvine, aged 65 and 61 respectively. The boy was reportedly driving to Northwood High School in Irvine. The driver was unharmed, but two innocent lives were lost in an instant.
Why are teenagers so dangerous behind the wheel?
- Teenagers are often undereducated and immature, lacking the skills and techniques necessary to make good driving decisions
- New drivers haven’t learned many of the skills and problem solving that can only be learned by experience
- They lack the maturity/life experience to consider the consequences of their actions
- Many are OVER confident and feel invincible
- Teens are easily distracted by passengers, music, and cell phones
- Parents don’t restrict their newly licensed teenagers’ driving time
- Parents don’t model good driving behavior for their teens
How can we change this?
What can we do to reverse some of the horrible statistics about teenage drivers?
It takes a village…
First off, families and other adults MUST get involved. We at Safety 1st do our very best to instruct and mentor your kids in a way that will help them not only learn skills, but to help them WANT to be a safe, defensive driver in Orange County. YOU need to do your part as well. Are you a parent? Grandparent? Aunt or uncle? Older sibling? Teacher? Coach? Neighbor? Carpooler? Friend?
Here are some things you can do to help teenage drivers:
- Encourage teens to be safe drivers. Give them incentives for safe driving, such as not using their cell phones, speeding, or adjusting their radio while driving.
- Tell your kids to take their time, especially when they are running late. Let them know you’d much rather them be late than get into an accident.
- Provide boundaries and restrictions to newly licensed drivers, such as no driving with friends and no nighttime driving.
- Take an active part in your student driver’s driver education program. Practice with them and talk to their instructors regularly.
- MODEL good behavior. You may not want to hear it, but this is the most important thing you can do. Show your kids what good driving looks like, by doing it yourself. (No texting or talking while driving, be patient with other drivers, no speeding, wear seat belts, etc.)
Teens, You HAVE to Care!
We at Safety 1st have been privileged to teach behind-the-wheel skills to some amazing Orange County teenagers. We care about each and every student that comes our way. We expect a lot from teenagers, because we believe they are capable of doing much more than anyone asks or expects. They are capable of doing great things! All it takes is for a few brave teenagers to stand up and do the right thing, and more will follow.
Teens, we challenge you to change the statistics! Beat the odds! Show Orange County and America that you are better than the statistics show. We cannot keep letting teenagers and innocent people die because of carelessness and inexperience behind the wheel. Please, care about your driver’s education. Take driving seriously. When you are behind the wheel, your life and the lives of others are literally at stake.
Please contact us and register your teenager for the best driver’s education Orange County has to offer. Let’s make Orange County a better place, one safe driver at a time – starting TODAY!