By Chief Gary Lohr for The Island Connection
Recent polls identified that teenagers who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2012, approximately 55 percent were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
Only 65 percent of teenagers regularly wear their seatbelts as both a passenger and driver. Six out of 10 drivers killed between the ages 16-20 were unrestrained and roughly two out of three teenage passengers who were killed were also unrestrained. Research shows that seat belts reduce serious crash related deaths and injuries by about half and yet teenagers have the lowest seat belt usage rates of any group, which will lead to deadly consequences.
Results from a national survey show that your parenting approach may even save your teenager’s life by lowering crash risk. Teenagers who described their parents as authoritative (highly supportive and involved, set rules, and monitor) reported fewer risky driving behaviors and half the crash risk in the last year as teens who described their parents as being less involved.
Parents, there are several things that you should do when it comes to your teenage driver. Make sure that you talk to your teen drivers about the importance of seat belt usage and remember to lead by example when driving your own vehicle. Require your teenage driver to ensure everyone is buckled properly before the vehicle is in motion. Placing a piece of tape over the buckle is an easy way to determine if seat belts are being worn.
If the tape isn’t torn or removed then you may have an issue. Finally, consider limiting or eliminating passengers in the vehicle until your teen driver gains more experience behind the wheel. This will help to eliminate peer pressure and help your driver develop the proper skills without outside interference.