Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Teen crash deaths

The Chicago Tribune last Sunday had a special section on teen driving deaths. They have run a series of articles highlighting this problem over the last year. The section (and the front page of the paper) had pictures of 59 teens that have died in car crashes since last January. I knew from of the faces and names from work.

There was an article with comments from parents saying that they will never “get the loss” and their working to prevent similar tragedies in other families. There was an article about new legislation that will be proposed in the state legislature (with comments that some of it may be hard to pass because it may make life a bit tougher for some people, although the deaths are even tougher). I do wish the “task force” success in getting the measure passed.

Some facts I’d like to highlight (also by putting them in my blog I can find them again more easily):
Teen crashes kill over 8000 people (over 5000 teens) and injure over 7000,000 others annually in this country
The ongoing brain construction in teens contributes to their increased risk of crashes with impulsive behavior and risk taking
Speeding is the most common contributor (over 40% of crashes) with alcohol contributing just less than 25% of the time
Only 47% of teen passengers wear seatbelts in cars with a teen driver, over 60% of teens killed were not where seatbelts

How to save these lives?
Comprehensive laws/programs restricting teen drivers, graduated licensing programs
Parents “preaching” and teaching
Teen peer pressure and information (peer pressure can do good things)
Commitment to work toward a remedy and working toward that remedy (maybe first and foremost)

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