Car crashes are already the number one cause of deaths among children and teens, but as teen drivers spend more time on the road during the summer months, their risk of being involved in a car crash increases. And if they’re not buckled up, they’re more likely to be killed or injured. However, a survey of 1,000 teens conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide found that 1 in 4 teens doesn’t wear a seat belt every time they drive or ride in a car.
The survey also asked teens why they don’t wear a seat belt. The top reasons?
- 34% said that they forgot or that it’s not a habit.
- 16% said they weren’t driving that far.
- 11% said that seat belts are uncomfortable.
Surveyors also asked the teen drivers about their distracted driving habits and found that teens who don’t use seat belts were also more likely to report that they text while driving than teens who do wear seat belts. Furthermore, 39% of teens said they have ridden with a teen driver who was texting while 43% have ridden with a teen driver who was talking on the phone. Even more shocking? 57% of teens reported riding in a car with a parent who was talking on the phone while 28% have ridden with a parent who was texting.
To get a better idea of how teens view these distracted driving behaviors, surveyors asked the teens about how safe they felt as passengers. 49% reported feeling unsafe when riding with a teen driver while 31% felt unsafe when riding with a parent. While 4 in 10 teens reported asking a driver to stop when driving dangerously, almost the same amount reported saying or doing nothing.
Whether your teens are drivers or passengers, make sure they stay safe on the road this summer and throughout the entire year by emphasizing these important safety tips from Safe Kids:
- Always buckle up. According to Safe Kids, seat belts reduce the risk of death for front seat passengers by 45%.
- Avoid distractions, especially cell phones and other electronic devices.
- Speak up. Talk to your teens and kids about how to speak up when a driver of any age isn’t driving safely and making them feel uncomfortable.
Set a good example for your kids and teens by following these safety tips, too! If you wear a seat belt and put away your phone and other distractions every time you get in the car, your kids are more likely to do the same.