Crash! and This Is Not a Test

Although there may be a certain amount of eye-rolling going on when you hear about the importance of safer teen driving—after all, weren’t many of us teens once upon a time, and didn’t we somehow manage to drive, if not exactly “safely,” at least such that we are here for eye-rolling—here’s a statement that ought to make all of us take pause and realize just how vitally important that is.

Although there may be a certain amount of eye-rolling going on when you hear about the importance of safer teen driving—after all, weren’t many of us teens once upon a time, and didn’t we somehow manage to drive, if not exactly “safely,” at least such that we are here for eye-rolling—here’s a statement that ought to make all of us take pause and realize just how vitally important that is.

According to Chuck Gulash, director of the Toyota Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) based in Ann Arbor, “Motor vehicle crashes remain the number-one cause of death for teenagers, claiming more than 3,000 lives in the U.S. each year.”

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Chuck Gulash of Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center

To be sure, some of these events are accidents in the sense that they’re not preventable (which is why they’re accidents), but presumably the severity of some can be mitigated. And some of these events are probably the result of distracted driving, so to get a better understanding of that, CSRC is undertaking a study of 5,600 teens and adults along with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).

It may not always be the kids that are at fault in creating bad driving habits. Explained Dr. Ray Bingham, research professor at UMTRI, of the study, “While it takes a look at the distracted driving of teens, it also examines distracted driving by parents of teen drivers.”

Bingham added, “The study delves into the motivations and attitudes of parents and teens that lead them to engage in distracting behaviors while driving.”

Middle-aged adults checking their Facebook status while behind the wheel can hardly be considered role models for teenage drivers.