The Dangers of Teens Behind the Wheel

Are you familiar with the “disease” that is the leading killer of teenagers, claiming the lives of 2,400 each year? What’s more is that this “disease” could easily be prevented through inexpensive behavior changes.

The truth is, no such “disease” exists: motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teenage deaths – not any disease.1,2 In 2012, 2,439 teen drivers and passengers died in motor vehicle crashes.3 In half of these fatal crashes, the teen wasn’t using a seat belt, and this proportion has been relatively unchanged over the last decade. In both fatal and nonfatal crashes, a greater percentage of passengers are unrestrained than drivers.4

SERIOUSLY how freaking hard is it to take 5 seconds to buckle up?!?!

The top reason teens gave for not buckling up is that they “forgot”, or that it just wasn’t a habit.  Note to Parents: These habits start young! Teens who aren’t using seat belts have indicated that they do not  see their parents use a seat belt when they drive. So parents: In order to help your teen stay safe on the road, set a good example!! Of course, not using a seat belt is only part of the issue. Teens who don’t use seat belts are almost more likely to admit that they text while driving than those who do wear seat belts — a problem that we all know is much too common. Of teens who don’t use  a seat belt admit to 73% texting while driving —  compared to 52% for those who do wear their seat belt. Granted, the goal is to have 0% of drivers texting and driving, but the point is that danger has been compounded by not wearing a seat belt with the greater likelihood of texting while driving.  Keeping teens safe in cars starts long before they are ready to drive or ride with friends. By following these tips, we can make sure that teens are making safe decisions when riding as passengers today and drivers tomorrow:

  • Make using a seat belt for every ride a habit, starting when kids are young.
  • Be a safety role model by observing speed limits, putting phones away while driving, and following the rules of the road.
  • Talk to teens and kids about ways to speak up if a driver of any age isn’t driving safely

Teens in Cars (SafeKids) Infographic courtesy of Safe Kids Worldwide

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here. 

 

Related articles:

Sources:
1. CDC Leading Causes of Death for Ages 13-19 in 2010
2. NHTSA 2010 Fatality Analysis (Ages 13-19)
3. NHTSA 2012 Fatality Analysis (Ages 13-19)
4. NHTSA 2003-2012 Fatality Analysis by Restraint Use (Ages 13-19)

U Think Ur Good @ Texting & Driving? Ur Not. U Suck @ it!

I’m not going to lie & say I’ve never done it — ashamedly, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve done it — but once is already WAY too many times.

Alexander Heit's last text

A grim reminder of the harsh consequences of texting while driving.

I’ve declared myself to be one selfish SOB. Not just selfish, but also very lucky — there is NO reason whatsoever why I shouldn’t be a statistic labeled in news headline as that selfish bastard who just could not wait until I wasn’t driving to read a text. I cringe to even admit that I’m guilty of responding to a few as well.I’ve been luckier than any lottery winner in history: I’ve performed these selfish actions without murdering anyone, or having caused irreversible damage to anyone — or myself for that matter.

But that’s ALL it was — Luck — nothing more

Having put the lives of others in danger unnecessarily makes me ashamed: I’m ashamed as a human being, as an insurance professional and as an passionate safety advocate. I’ve been a freaking hypocrite — and if you know me at all you know that I LOATHE hypocrites, just about as much as I hate admitting that I am one. I am now passionate about putting that damned cell phone down.  For crapsake, I live in Lafayette, it’s not like I have far to drive —what the hell is so damned important that I’ve felt couldn’t wait for 15 freaking minutes?!?To my friends and family — go ahead and call me a nerd — I really could care less. But I do care about your safety and mine, which is why I’m BEGGING you to do the same. Up to this point you have only been sharing the same teeny tiny pot of luck I’ve been scraping out of — and trust me — it’s running on “E”.

To think that you have mastered the skill of texting and driving is the most pathetic mind trick.
Trust me: You REALLY suck at it.

It’s time to PUT THE PHONE DOWN! It’s that one text that can change everything. Hindsight is always 20/20 — so have some foresight and think about it. Do you think you could drive the length of a football field blindfolded without incident? Well if that’s something that you think you’d be uncomfortable with know that is EXACTLY what you are doing when you take your eyes off the road to read or send a text.  

If you want to roll your eyes & think “Well there goes Melissa again on one of her crazed nerdy save the world tangents” just know: When your luck runs out, I’ll come hold your hand in jail & pray for you & with you, but I also promise to leave you there…unless of course it is me or one of my family members, in which case I’m sorry, but that offer is off the table.

Related articles:

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here. 

Photo courtesy of  Greeley, Colorado Police Department

The Safe Road to Santa’s Workshop

Cheer is in the air as the holiday season approaches. Just don’t overlook increased risks of being out on the road! As you head to Aunt Judy’s Christmas dinner or Bob’s Ugly Sweater Party, it is increasingly important to drive safely.This time around, take a safe trip with Santa’s elves as they follow the cement road to his workshop. You’ll learn how (and why!) to stay away from dangerous driving practice.

Be Safe This Holiday Season - The Safe Road to Santa's Workshop

Infographic courtesy of Road Traffic Signs

The holidays should be a time for celebration, not tragedy. NHTSA has compiled these facts for you to keep these facts and more in mind while you’re behind the wheel this holiday season.

  • In December, an average of 25 people a day die in drunk driving crashes. That means that for approximately 775 families, a typically joyous celebration ended in disaster.
  • In 2010, more than 10,000 people were killed in drunk driving crashes.
  • In December 2010, almost 1 out of every 4 cards involved in a fatal crash had a drunk driver behind the wheel.
  • In December, 60% of fatal crashes between midnight and 3 a.m. involve a drunk driver.

Before you head out for to celebrate this holiday season, be sure to follow these simple steps to ensure your holiday celebrations don’t end in tragedy –or get you put on Santa’s ‘Naughty’ list:

  • Plan ahead; be sure to designate a sober driver before the party begins.
  • If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Even one drink too many increases the risk of a crash while driving a motor vehicle. If you are impaired, find another way home. Use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation.
  • Be responsible. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Your actions may save someone’s life, and inaction could cost a life.

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here.

Sources:
1.  NHTSA | I didn’t know that

Who the hell leaves a kid in their car on a hot day?!?!

Alright, I’ll be the first to admit it – when I see the horrible headlines about a child losing their life to Hyperthermia (aka Heat Stroke) in a vehicle I wonder “What in the hell is wrong with the imbecile who could do something so horrible?!?”

I mean seriously, what type of a monster could be capable of such of such a thing?

As it turns out — the wealthy do. And the poor. And the middle class. Loving parents of all ages and ethnicities do it — and mothers are just as likely to do it as fathers. It has happened to a a dentist, a loving social worker, a postal clerk, and a Veterinarian. It even happened to a minister of music in a church parking lot.

I am 100% guilty of having judged these individuals to be monsters by all accounts. Anytime I would hear a tragic story about a child losing their life in a hot car I would instantly think to myself —”Those parents need to be shot”. I feel awful for having ignorantly assumed that this could only happen to bad, unfit parents — people who were neglecting their children to imbibe in alcohol and drugs— never once did I consider that such a tragedy could occur to loving, doting parents who were deceived by a tragic lapse in their memory.

I thank God for putting this article in front of me, which subsequently led me to this MIND-BLOWING article which opened up my ignorant, closed-minded eyes to the fact that this actually IS a problem in our society, forever changing my perspective. Initially I felt so guilty for having judged — but then I realized that only made ME feel better — the only true redemption of my guilt can come through vigilant awareness in helping make individuals be aware of this danger.

I don’t care WHO you are – this tragedy can happen to anyone

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