-- The coming months will be filled with celebration
as millions of teenagers mark prom and graduation as the end of
a school year or even their high school careers and launch into
the more relaxed summer months. Unfortunately, some combine their
freedom and carefree attitude with reckless actions making prom,
graduation, and the Fourth of July among the most dangerous times
of the year for teenage driving. According to U.S. Census data
there are 13 million driving-aged teenagers and, with 23 percent
of teens admitting to driving under the influence of alcohol,
marijuana or other drugs, as many as 3 million impaired teen drivers
may be taking to the roads during the upcoming months, according
to a new survey from Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students
Against Destructive Decisions).
the large majority of teens (91 percent) consider themselves to
be "safe/cautious" drivers. Yet many teens don't even
consider alcohol, marijuana or other drugs a distraction or deterrent
to their driving ability. Of teens who admit to drinking and driving,
nearly 40 percent claim that alcohol has no impact on or even
improves their driving. Perhaps even more concerning is that among
teens who admit to driving under the influence of marijuana, the
large majority (75 percent) feel the same way. With more than
3,000 teen driving deaths each year, according to the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Liberty Mutual Insurance
and SADD urge parents to have potentially life-saving conversations
with their teens before it's too late.
end of the school year and the summer months are exciting times
for teens, but they are also the most dangerous," says Dave
Melton , a driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual Insurance
and managing director of global safety. "A celebratory toast
can quickly lead to serious consequences down the line. These
new data illustrate that there is clearly a strong need to increase
the level of education around safe driving. More importantly,
it's a flag for parents to make sure they talk to their kids regularly
about the importance of safe driving behavior."
find driving under the influence distracting? According to the
survey, about one in four teens who have driven under the influence
of marijuana (25 percent) or prescription drugs (23 percent),
and about one in seven teens who report drinking and driving (14
percent), say "not at all." This cavalier attitude toward
driving under the influence is made more somber in light of recent
data from the Governors Highway Safety Association which found
an alarming 19 percent increase in the number of teen driver deaths
(ages 16 and 17) in the first half of 2012.
fact that an overwhelming number of teens admit to extremely unsafe
driving habits and completely dismiss any risk concern yet still
consider themselves safe drivers means either teens have a different
definition of 'safe' or we need to do a better job of educating
kids about the dangers of this type of behavior," added Melton.
Events and Summer Driving
to the survey findings, about one in ten teens (11 percent) reports
driving under the influence of alcohol during the summer. The
coming months are punctuated with a series of celebratory events
that often involve the use of alcohol or other drugs. During prom
and graduation season, Fourth of July, and the weeks before school
resumes in the fall, as many as 1.4 million teens could be driving
under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
that have driven under the influence of alcoholand other drugs
during or after one of these events/times.
Driving in General
Critical Role for Parents and Schools
news is that more than 90 percent of teens say their school has
a program or policy in place to deter illegal behavior, the most
common being security guards or police. Additionally, the use
of breathalyzers at school events is up nearly 25 percent. While
school programs play an important role in keeping teens from engaging
in illegal activities, and these programs have increased in recent
years, speaking with your teen at home about the importance of
safe driving is more critical than ever.
programs can only go so far," says Stephen Wallace , senior
advisor for policy, research, and education at SADD. "For
example, we know that teens are more likely to drink around events
such as Fourth of July, which are less supervised than prom or
graduation. It is up to parents to talk to their teens about the
dangers of driving under the influence. The Parent/Teen Driving
Contract is a great way to start important conversations with
Mutual Insurance and SADD encourage parents to have a conversation
with their teen about responsible driving and sign a Parent/Teen
Driving Contract. The customized agreement enables you to
create and uphold family driving rules, especially during this
dangerous time of year. For more information about safe teen driving
and to download a contract, visit www.LibertyMutual.com/TeenDriving.
Mutual Insurance and SADD commissioned ORC International to conduct
a qualitative and quantitative methodology to measure teen driving
attitudes and behaviors. The study was initiated with a series
of four focus groups held in Boston, Mass., and Atlanta, Ga.,
from January 30 – February 1, 2012, followed by a survey
of 1,708 eleventh and twelfth graders from across the country.
Overall the findings from the study can be interpreted at a 95
percent confidence interval with an error margin of +/- 2.16 percent.
Error margins for subsets such as licensed drivers will be wider.
the nation's leading peer-to-peer youth education, prevention,
and activism organization, is committed to empowering young people
to lead initiatives in their schools and communities. Founded
in 1981, today SADD has thousands of chapters in middle schools,
high schools, and colleges. SADD highlights prevention of many
destructive behaviors and attitudes that are harmful to young
people, including underage drinking, other drug use, risky and
impaired driving, and teen violence and suicide. To become a Friend
of SADD or for more information, visit sadd.org,
or follow SADD on Facebook,
Liberty Mutual Insurance
people live safer, more secure lives" since 1912, Boston-based
Liberty Mutual Insurance is a diversified global insurer and the
third largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based
on 2011 direct premiums written as reported by the National Association
of Insurance Commissioners. Liberty Mutual Insurance also ranks
84th on the Fortune 100 list of largest U.S. corporations, based
on 2011 revenue. The company employs over 50,000 people in more
than 900 offices throughout the world.
auto and home insurer in the U.S., Liberty Mutual (libertymutual.com)
sells full lines of coverage for automobile, homeowners, valuable
possessions, personal liability, and individual life insurance.
The company is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering
car and home insurance to employees and members of more than 14,000
companies, credit unions, professional associations and alumni