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Getting your first license is a right of passage anticipated by teens the world over. Unfortunately, the leading cause of death among American teens is car crashes. In 2012, more than 40,000 drivers under the age of 21 were involved in motor vehicle collisions on Indiana roadways. Of these, 59 sustained a fatal injury. According to NHTSA, from 2002 through 2011 an average of 75 young drivers were killed eavery year in collisions on Indiana roadways.
One of the greatest risk factors teen drivers face is the number of passengers in the vehicle. Studies have confirmed that with the presence of just one passenger, teens are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash. Few teens recognize the increased risk of a crash while passengers are present in the vehicle.
In a proactive approach to help educate teens about the importance of safe driving practices, the Governor’s Council on Impaired & Dangerous Driving and the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) are working with parents, teachers, legislators and traffic safety advocates to increase awareness about teen driver safety and empower students with the resources they need to drive responsibly.
Indiana's Graduated Driver Licensing Law (GDL) is one action toward reducing teen crashes. The GDL was implemented in 2009 and 2010 and reduces teen driver exposure on roadways. Under the GDL a young driver is exposed to driving experiences gradually while under supervision, with limited night time driving, limited passengers in the vehicle under the age of 21, and an increased age of acquisition. Studies have shown that a strong GDL, supported by parents and caregivers, reduces the incidence of teen driver crashes.
Teen Driver Safety Week is observed each October to promote outreach efforts that encourage communities to support the families of young drivers. In Indiana, organizations like Indiana Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) are getting involved by hosting events across the state that speak directly to young drivers about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving.
The Traffic Safety Division of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute conducts outreach and education for young drivers using our anti-texting and driving simulator and an all day event entitled "Rule the Road". During a Rule the Road event, young drivers can experience certain common driving hazards and conditions under the supervision of trained emergency driving instructors. For more information visit http://www.in.gov/ruletheroad/.
Also, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles offers a Driver Guide for Parents and Teens.