San Diego

Teen Safe Driving Week Highlights Dangers of Distracted Driving

This week parents, law enforcement, schools and businesses are teaming up to remind young drivers how dangerous a minor distraction can be when they’re behind the wheel. 

According to statistics compiled by law enforcement agencies and insurance companies, 16 year-old drivers have higher crash rates than any other age.

Findings also show a third of teen deaths are caused by car crashes.

October 15 – 21 is National Teen Driver Safety Week.

Thus, law enforcement agencies and safety advocates are working together to educate teenagers about road safety.  

NBC 7 spoke with Jakeb Ford, a graduate of Granite Hills High School.

Ford said a driver safety course he took while attending high school left a strong impression on him, and made him more cautious of his driving habits.

He also recognizes distracting driving takes many forms.

“I fall victim to distracted driving,” said Ford. “In ways of just searching what song to play next on my phone. I’m not even texting anyone.”

Local authorities explained parents have a strong influence on how their kids drive.

“As a parent you want to model good behavior,” said Lieutenant Chris Steffen, with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department (SDSO). “So you just need to tell them what you would do as an ideal parent, expect that out of your teen driver. No cell phones.”

AT&T is also taking part in the effort to save lives.

“In interviews we have done with teens, 97 percent of teens will tell us that they know that driving and using their phones is something that’s not safe,” said Ignacio De La Torro, Assistant Vice President at AT&T. “Yet 43 percent of those teens do it.”

De La Torro said AT&T is holding events at high schools across the country, in partnership with various agencies, to educate students about safe driving, and "hopefully remind people that it doesn’t take a lot to put your phone away and simply wait.”

SDSO also offers a “Start Smart” program for teenagers and parents. The course goes over good driving habits, and also shows videos that highlight the consequences of bad driving decisions.

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