Teens in Canada are one of the most distracted and high lot if we are to believe the statistics presented during the ongoing National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW).
The NTDSW was organised during October 16-22 and it was meant to raise awareness and educating young drivers about road safety. Statistics indicate that one in four teens (25 per cent) involved in a fatal collision tests positive for marijuana. Further, distracted driving is a factor in up to 19 per cent of all fatal crashes involving teen drivers. Both these numbers are worrying for both of them are preventable.
Young drivers, inexperienced if I am allowed to call them that, are at a higher risk for vehicle accidents than any other age group and when you add distraction and marijuana to the mix, the risk of accidents double. This is what the NTDSW is all about – Parachute and State Farm called upon teens to help reduce distracted and drug impaired driving and #GetHomeSafe.
A new Parachute poll, which for the first time includes Canadian transgender youth (aged 16-24), finds 39 per cent of young drivers admit they text behind the wheel and an alarming 71 per cent don’t consider using their phones while driving to be very distracting. Educating teens about drug impaired driving is also a focus of this year’s National Teen Driver Safety Week. As highlighted above 25 per cent teen drivers who died in a crash between 2000- 2010 tested positive for cannabis yet many youth don’t consider drugged driving high risk.
The campaign involved an innovative approach aptly named PARTY (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth) program at Sunnybrook Hospital. Through this approach, high school classes were taught about the dangers of distracted driving, impairment and speeding and then these students were taken on a tour of hospital’s rehabilitation facilities and, ultimately, the morgue. It’s like a scared-straight driver’s education video come vividly to life.
Parachute Interim CEO, Pamela Fuselli, pointed out that research indicates distracted driving i.e. texting behind the wheel can be considered equivalent to driving with eyes closed for five seconds. Through the campaign, they are asking all teens to make a pledge to #GetHomeSafe and commit to safer driving practices.
John Bordignon, Media Relations State Farm Canada, has urged young drives to remain focused and attentive during driving to ensure their own safety as well as safety of the passengers, other motorists and pedestrians on the road.