Maryland kicks off Teen Driver Safety Week with interactive lab

FORT WASHINGTON, MD (Oct. 22, 2018) ? The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) joined traffic safety leaders and more than 100 teens today at an Interactive Traffic Safety Lab led by the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) to highlight the dangers faced by young drivers. The event kicked off the beginning of National Teen Driver Safety Week, which runs through October 27.

“Teen drivers are at greater risk on our roads due to inexperience,” said Chrissy Nizer, Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative and Administrator for the MDOT MVA. “We are proud to partner with the National Organizations for Youth Safety in educating our young drivers about potentially dangerous situations.” 

The Interactive Traffic Safety Lab featured stations that provided learning experiences to support safer road use. This year’s safety exhibits covered topics including preventing distracted driving, the dangers of drunk or drugged driving, and the importance of using seat belts. In addition, teens were provided with the opportunity to experience hands-on activities to teach them about crash avoidance and skid recovery. 

“Car crashes are the number one killer of teens,” said April Rai, Executive Director at NOYS. “Maryland has been an outstanding partner as we work to empower young people to keep themselves safe as a pedestrian, passenger, and as a driver, ultimately working to eliminate teen traffic fatalities and injuries.” Over the last five years in Maryland, 244 people have been killed and more than 7,500 people have been injured in crashes involving a driver between the ages of 16 and 20. Driver distraction was reported as a contributing factor in about 27 percent of crashes for drivers in that age group. Seat belt use is also often lower among teen drivers. 

Maryland promotes “5 to Drive” and the role of parents in ensuring the safety of their young drivers. The program advocates discussing these safety topics with teens:

  • No cell phone use or texting while driving,
  • No extra passengers,
  • No speeding,
  • No alcohol/drugs, and
  • No driving or riding without a seat belt.

Parents can learn more about ways to keep their young drivers safe at www.safercar.gov/parents/teendriving. “It is unacceptable for a young life to be lost on our roads,” said Administrator Nizer. “We all need to take responsibility for keeping teen drivers safe and preparing them for the situationsthey will face while driving.” 

Learn more about the MDOT Highway Safety Office’s Toward Zero Deaths campaign at towardzerodeathsmd.com, on Facebook at @towardzerodeathsmd, on Twitter at @tzd_maryland,and on Instagram at twdzerodeaths_md. For more information on NOYS, please visit https://noys.org.