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MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today his support for the goals and ideals of National Teen Driver Safety Week. The week is annually observed the third week of October each year. This year's observance is October 19 to 25, 2008. It is a time in which intensive programming is used to educate teens about the risks associated with driving and encouraging them to drive more safety. "Passengers" is this year's theme.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), teen drivers represent less than 7 percent of the driving public, but account for more than 13 percent of drivers involved in all deadly crashes. In 2007, 7,360 youth under the age of 21 were involved in fatal vehicle crashes.
"Driver error and speeding are the leading cause of teen driver crashes." said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. "With strong encouragement from their parents, law enforcement, community leaders, and other responsible young people, young drivers will be reminded and encouraged to be safer drivers and better neighbors on the road. For themselves, their passengers and those with whom they share the road, driver statistics show they need to be encouraged to do better. Lives are at stake"
Statistics provided by the NTSB show that sixteen-year-old drivers are more than twice as likely to be involved in fatal crashes as older drivers. "We know that the younger the driver the more likely they are to be involved in a fatal crash. Two-thirds of the passengers who were killed in teen driver crashes were teenagers themselves. We can limit the many distractions - cell phones, eating and drinking while driving, loud music, etc. - that make it increasingly difficult for all driversespecially young and inexperienced drivers to focus their attention on operating their vehicle safely," said Van Hollen. "It is important to reinforce the idea that once a vehicle is moving, that driver must devote their full attention to driving and driving safely. Period. Nothing is more important than getting from point A to point B safely."
Attorney General Van Hollen said he was proud to support this initiative to help keep our state's roadways safe. "It is important to support these efforts to effectively impact teens and remind parents and families of their roles to care for their children and their children's friends. Far too many students lose a classmate, a friend, or a companion to a vehicle crash each year. Now is the time to act to prevent more tragedies."