Teach kids safe driving habits | AspenTimes.com

Teach kids safe driving habits

Dear Editor:

As we head toward prom season and summer vacations, I think now is a good time to remind parents and teens about some safe driving tips.

Unfortunately in Colorado in 2009, there were 48 auto-related teen deaths. As a parent in the community and an auto dealer in Glenwood Springs I am reminded every day that enforcing safe driving habits is the only way to bring this number down.

I’d like to offer a few practical tips for everyone:

Insist on safety-belt use. According to the latest data, in 2009 the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 12,713 lives in the U.S.

Drinking and driving don’t mix. More than a third of all teen traffic fatalities involve alcohol. This should be obvious, but no excuses, no second chances, no alcohol. Period. Make sure you talk to your child about what to do or who to call if they are ever stuck in a situation without a sober driver. There are always other options.

Avoid distractions. Driving demands full attention. A driver’s responsibility is to operate the vehicle safely. Distractions like the radio, cell phones and passengers take attention away from the road. Colorado’s Graduated Driving Licensing Laws have helped decrease distractions, but it is still up to drivers to follow the law.

Today’s vehicles are safer than ever, and advanced technologies such as Sync, MyFord Touch, and other manufacturers’ offerings are helping to keep our kids safe. If your teen is borrowing your car, make sure you take a drive with them first and that they know how to properly use all the features.

For parents especially, safe driving habits are a crucial involvement in your teen’s life. Ford recently released a survey reporting that more than three quarters of tweens say they will rely heavily on their parents’ advice when they start to drive. That’s great news for parents. On the flipside, though, the same study showed that while nearly all (95 percent) of parents believe they’re safe drivers, 82 percent of teens report seeing their parents be careless when driving.

The bottom line is we all need to practice safe driving habits. Let’s do it for ourselves and the safety of our kids.

Steve Nilsson

General manager, Glenwood Springs Ford Lincoln

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