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West Chester Police preach “5 to Drive” boundaries
“If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.”
The late journalist Pauline Esther, better known by her pen name Abigail Van Buren, once prescribed this piece of parenting advice for readers of her syndicated “Dear Abby” column.
The same wisdom can be applied for teen drivers.
West Chester Police are asking parents to “put some responsibility on” the shoulders of their sons and daughters before handing over the keys this summer when, statistically, inexperienced drivers are more likely to be involved in a crash.
The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is considered the “100 deadliest days for teens” by automotive safety think tanks and researchers. According to the experts with Butler County Safe Communities, new teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash for every mile driven when compared to adult drivers.
Nationally, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 15-18 years old. There were 2,247 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver in 2017. Of those fatalities, 755 were teen drivers.
“As a parent, you’ve set boundaries for your child their whole life,” said Sgt. Brent Lovell, Community Affairs. “There are bed times, rules on screen time, limits on play away from the house and so on.
“So why stop setting boundaries when your child becomes old enough and mature enough to earn their driver’s license,” Lovell said. Just like rules for young children, boundaries for teen drivers should drive home the message that actions have consequences.
Keep your teen’s “feet on the ground,” figuratively speaking, and their attention on traffic safety, literally, with the 5 to Drive method from the NHTSA. Before your child reaches for the car keys, discuss and review these five simple boundaries together.
"5 to Drive" Rules
- No cell phones
FACT: Six out of 10 teen crashes involve driver distraction.
- No extra passengers
FACT: The most common form of distraction in teen driver crashes is interacting with one or more passengers.
- No speeding
FACT: Most crashes occur at 40 miles per hour, or less.
- No alcohol
FACT: The legal limit for people under age 21 is different than for adults of drinking age. Teens caught driving with even a hint of alcohol in their system could face stiff penalties.
- Buckle up
FACT: Seventy-five percent of vehicle passengers who are totally ejected in a crash die. Deaths of unbuckled occupants have occurred at speeds as low as 12 miles per hour.
For more information and tips from the NHTSA, visit www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving.