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Driving Home A Message Of Auto Safety To Teens

Posted on October 7, 2008

With more than 36,000 teen drivers involved in car crashes in Florida last year –and a teen killed every 6.5 minutes nationwide, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles has created an interactive web site to drive home the message of safety on the road.

With great graphics, bold music, and production techniques, TakeTheWheel.net was created by teens for teens. It’s a very powerful and effective way to communicate the truth about the responsibility of taking the wheel, including the facts:

•According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) more than two-thirds of teen passengers and drivers who die in nighttime car crashes are not wearing their seat belts.
•Teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.
•Distractions such as loud music, texting, cell phone use, driving tired combined with inexperience and speed and drug use all aggravate the problem.
•In addition to the 36,000 involved in teen crashes last year, more than 479 people were killed in auto accidents where a teenager was behind the wheel.
•Auto accidents remain the number one cause of death for teenagers.

In the teen videos- Alexa tell story of her cousin Mandy, now in a vegetative state, after an accident in December of 2004. She was in a car that was t-boned by another car driven by a student driver.

Alexa says, “She starts to cry and she has feelings she needs to get out but she can’t because of the way she is. Being in an accident and almost dying changes everybody life not just around them, but the whole school. People may not realize it but people have a lot of value. People take their life for granted.”

Dustin watched his 19-year-old cousin, Frankie die after his car flipped 15 times. Frankie had been drinking and driving. His much larger cousin stopped him when depressed and drunk, Dustin tried to get behind the wheel. ” I broke down and cried and my parents came and picked me upl. I will not let anybody get in the car if they’;re drunk,” he says.

Megan was in a car that hit the back of a truck, then split into a “V”. Her boyfriend died, as did the driver of the other vehicle. Megan begins crying on camera when she tells her story. “I have friends who street race and they still do it, and I don’t undertand why. If someone is in the car with me I make them put their seatbelt on. I’;m really serious about it. You’re not going to die while I’m driving.”

Kudos on talking to teens in a language that matters. I hope every young driver in Florida takes the time to listen to the experiences of people who have suffered from the loss of a loved one. I can happen to you. It happened to them.

The web site is here TakeTheWheel.net.