Some of Iowa’s least experienced drivers are also the ones at greatest risk for getting into a wreck.
As part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, Genie Sterbenz at the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, says Iowa moms and dads can help to better the odds by simply talking with their kids about the dos and don’ts of driving.
“The purpose is to actually open up that conversation between parents and young teen drivers, to be able to instruct the importance of getting good driving habits into those young teen drivers,” Sterbenz says, “and talking about things that the teens should avoid.”
One substance that tempts teens is alcohol and the consequences can be deadly. “All teens are too young to legally buy, possess or even consume alcohol,” she says, “however, nationally in 2018, a total of 16% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had alcohol in their system.” Last year, 39 Iowans between the ages of 14 and 20 were killed in crashes, and seven of them had blood-alcohol levels over the legal limit.
Sterbenz notes that distracted driving can be almost as deadly. “That could be anything as simple as putting on makeup, or messing with the radio, or eating,” Sterbenz says, “or, the one that we all need to avoid is using the phone while we’re driving.” Find more tips on teen driving at the Iowa Department of Public Safety website: dps.iowa.gov.
(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)