Teens reminded to buckle up
National Teen Driver Safety Week kicked off Oct. 15, which unfortunately was the day a Delmar High School junior was laid to rest.
In the early morning hours of Oct. 7, the 16-year-old was one of four teens in a vehicle that crashed into a utility pole in Salisbury, Md. The boy was a passenger in the vehicle being driven by a 17-year-old. According to the National Passenger Safety Campaign, 56% of the deaths of teenage passengers occurred in vehicles driven by another teenager. Graduated driver’s license programs nationwide restrict the number of passengers a teen driver may have in a vehicle. In Delaware, a teen driver may have only one other passenger in addition to the driver in the vehicle.
In Delaware, the record-tying 146 motor vehicle-related deaths in 2022 showed that too many drivers and passengers do not Buckle Up - Every Trip - Every Time. Of the 106 vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes in 2022, only 62 (58%) were using occupant restraints.
The Delaware State Police Annual Traffic Statistical Report for 2022 notes that only 3% of all drivers in Delaware are aged 18 and under, but more than 16% of fatalities on our roadways were minors.
Delaware Safety Council, established in 1919, has worked for over a century to improve teen driver safety and increase safety awareness. A key part of those efforts has focused on driver education and improvement, highway safety and promoting motor vehicle occupant safety.
Michael Wagner, driver education associate with the Delaware Department of Education, and Pete Booker, founder of the former SmartDrive Foundation focusing on teen driver safety, are both on the board of directors of the Delaware Safety Council. Both Wagner and the Delaware Safety Council are active participants in the governor’s Teen Driver Task Force in the Office of Highway Safety.
SmartDrive, now one of Delaware Safety Council’s teen driver and passenger safety awareness programs, encourages all teens who drive or ride in a motor vehicle to Buckle Up - Every Trip - Every Time through the online Click4Life pledge campaign.
Delaware Safety Council is asking Delaware teens and parents of teens to take the pledge and promise to Click4Life using their mobile phones. Students will make their pledge to Buckle Up - Every Trip - Every Time and are then encouraged to share their pledge among their peers using social media.
A copy of the student’s pledge is sent to their parent to show they have made the commitment to being safe in motor vehicles – both as drivers and passengers. The message also reminds those parents that they, too, should Buckle Up - Every Trip - Every Time.
We also ask that parents encourage their teens and tweens to make the SmartDrive Click4Life pledge at smartdriveusa.org/c4l or have them scan the QR code.