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Attorney General Van Hollen Announces His Support of National Teen Driver Safety Week


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 observed the third week of October each year, and will be held October 18 to 24, 2009. It is a time in which intensive programming is used to educate teens on the risks associated with driving and encouraging them to drive more safety.


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.


"We know that there are several important facts regarding the incidence of teens involved in vehicle crashes," said Attorney General Van Hollen. "Driver error or speeding is the leading cause of teen driver crashes. We can better inform students of the severity of a vehicle crash and the very real consequences to themselves, their passengers, and the general public of operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner."


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 thy 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 also limit many distractions cell phones, food/beverage consumption, loud music, etc. that make it increasingly difficult for the driver to focus their attention on operating their vehicle in a safe manner," said Van Hollen.  "It is important to reinforce the idea that once a vehicle is in motion, the driver must devote his or her full attention to the task at hand operating that vehicle safely. The phone call can wait. The sip of soda or bite of a burger can wait. 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. "I believe it is important to support efforts to effectively educate teens and families about ways to address increased safety measures for teen drivers. 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 future tragedies."