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Teen Safe Driver Week - CHP Programs in Sonoma County

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Teen Safe Driver Week - CHP Programs in Sonoma County

Traffic collisions are the number one killer of teenagers in the United States, ending more young lives every day than cancer, homicide, and suicide combined. To bring awareness of the dangers facing young people when they drive, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will participate in National Teen Safe Driver Week, October 18-24, 2015.

“Among all drivers, teenagers are at the greatest risk for a collision and are more prone to distraction than any other age demographic,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “A national study from the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety has shown that teenagers are distracted almost a quarter of the time they are behind the wheel.”

In 2013, the California Department of Motor Vehicles reported that California had 864,974 licensed drivers aged 15-19. The CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System showed that more than 19,000 of them were involved in fatal or injury collisions. The teenage driver was at fault in 12,622, or 66 percent, of those collisions. This is a slight improvement from 2012, when more than 20,000 California drivers age 15-19 were involved in fatal or injury collisions, in which 13,424, or 67 percent, were at fault. 

“Although national data shows a decline in the number of young drivers involved in vehicle crashes over recent years, they are still at greater risk than any other age group. The CHP will always be dedicated to promoting safe habits for California’s young drivers,” Commissioner Farrow said.

The CHP has its own teen driver programs and works with the California Office of Traffic Safety and Impact Teen Drivers to educate young drivers about the dangers and responsibilities behind the wheel.

Impact Teen Drivers is a non-profit program focused on saving teen lives through education. “Parents are the strongest influence on their teens’ driving attitudes and behaviors. By the time they drive, your children have been watching, listening, and learning from everything you have been doing behind the wheel for the past 15.5 years. As a parent, when you model safe driving behaviors, you could save your child’s life,” Dr. Kelly Browning, Executive Director of Impact Teen Drivers, said. INFO: ImpactTeenDrivers.org

Every 15 Minutes is a two-day CHP program focusing on high school juniors and seniors. It challenges them to think about drinking, driving, personal safety, the responsibility of making mature decisions, and the impact their decisions have on family, friends, and others. INFO: Every 15 Minutes ‚Äč

Another CHP program is Start Smart, a two-hour class for teen drivers and their parents/guardians. Start Smart educates teenagers and parents about the responsibilities they face and teaches them how to stay safe on the road. Classes are free and usually hosted at a local CHP office. INFO: Start Smart: Driving Smart to Stay SafeThe Rohnert Park CHP office holds this class the second Tuesday of every month, 7-9 p. Call 588-1400 for more info. 

Helping your kids make the Right Turn: Tips for Parents - With the average age of first alcohol use in the U.S. now reported to be 12, it’s not too early to start talking to your young teen about making smart decisions when it comes to drugs, alcohol, peer pressure, and drinking and driving. Drinking and driving? But he’s only in eighth grade you say? But what is he going to do if his ride home from practice has been drinking? Will he know how to handle the situation? What if her boyfriend has a driver’s license? What’s she going to do if he’s been drinking? These are real life scenarios that are worth discussing with your child. The California Highway Patrol’s RIGHT TURN Middle School Program has some tips for parents, including tips on alcohol prevention strategies, talking to your teen, and ways to help them say “no.” INFO: Right Turn