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Delaware Office of Highway Safety asks parents to talk to teens about driving safety

This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week. And parents in the First State are being asked to talk to their teens about driving safety.

The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is teaming up with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), high schools, community centers and businesses statewide, offering educational materials to help parents and caregivers discuss safe driving habits with teens.  

“Statistics and surveys have shown that when parents are involved with having these discussions with their teens, it reduces the risk of teens being involved in serious injury crashes and partaking in risky driving practices,” said Jason Coleman, OHS marketing specialist and public information officer.

He says risky teen driving practices include speeding, horsing around with friends while driving and drinking and driving.

“On Delaware roadways, last year in 2021, there were 15 fatalities involving teens aged 19 and younger, which accounted for 11% of all traffic fatalities. And tragically - this year in 2022 - to date there have been 16 fatalities involving teens aged 19 and younger, which is trending 60% over the same period as last year,” said Coleman.

He says statistics also show males accounted for 64% of those fatalities in Delaware vs 34% of females - and two young males to every one young female engage in risky behaviors, including speeding, driving impaired and distracted driving.

And Coleman notes nationally the numbers indicate drinking and driving is a cause for concern.

“Unfortunately nationally, 19% of teen driver vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2020 had alcohol in their system,” he said.

Coleman says parents and caregivers need to stress that there are consequences to driving impaired - including injury, death or harm to other drivers.

More information about National Teen Driver Safety is available here.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.