Set good example by driving safely | AspenTimes.com

Set good example by driving safely

Dear Editor:

Due to the lack of notice anywhere in Pitkin County, I’d like to announce that this week is National Teen Driver Safety Week. In 2007, a U.S. congressional resolution designated the third week of October as National Teen Driver Safety Week. I hope that parents of teens will take the time to remind their new drivers of the responsibility they bear when getting behind the wheel of a car.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “Teen drivers have the highest crash risk of any age group. The crash rate per mile driven for 16-year-old drivers is almost 10 times the rate for drivers aged 30-59. Motor vehicle crashes remain the top cause of death for adolescents. Teen drivers (ages 16 to 19) are involved in fatal crashes at four times the rate of adult drivers (ages 25 to 69). Teen driver inexperience, coupled with immaturity, often results in risk-taking behaviors such as speeding, alcohol use and not wearing a seat belt – all of which contribute to an increased death rate.”

I know many will agree with me that aggressive driving is a huge issue on Highway 82. The NHTSA defines aggressive driving as “the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner which endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.” It is hard to convince a teen to drive safely when the adults around them are driving aggressively. I sincerely appreciate the Aspen and Basalt police departments’ efforts to reduce aggressive/drunk driving. I strongly encourage the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office to step up enforcement on Highway 82 and stop enabling dangerous aggressive driving with the absurd notion that “speed limits are determined by engineers and it is up to the individual to comply.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “the United States was once a leader in highway safety but has now fallen to 10th in the world.” Toward Zero Deaths: Every Life Counts is a plan by the Governors’ Highway Safety Association (GHSA) for reauthorizing the Federal Highway Safety Program. I encourage parents especially to go the GHSA website and read the startling statistic regarding teen drivers. Please! Set good examples for your teens, and don’t feel like a nag by reminding them, each time they take the keys to the family car, to drive safely. Every life counts.

Kim Vieira

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