SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The leading cause of death among 15-to-19 year-olds can be prevented. Car accidents cause thousands of teen deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries each year.
That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration designates this week as National Teen Driver Safety Week.
“If I had heard more about it, I probably would have been more aware,” said Damian Muriel of Springfield. He added, “I’ve had a couple times where I’ve almost had a near miss to an accident where it wakes you up, just like one or two times, but it kind of makes you realize that a split second matters on the road and you see a lot of people take that for granted.”
The NHTSA recommends teens drive slow, not have extra passengers in the car, and never drink alcohol before driving. It’s also recommended to always wear a safety belt. That might be second nature for most of us, but another piece of advice isn’t as easy for teens to follow. That advice is to avoid taking a selfie or texting while driving.
“They definitely text or they’re on social media “snapchatting”, which is really annoying. So that’s really hard because I’ll be like ‘No! No!”” said Sarah Falcetti, a 17-year-old drive from Southampton.
Massachusetts law prohibits teens under the age of 18 from using cell phones while driving. They can’t drive between 12:30AM and 5AM.
Young drivers in their 20’s said they’ve learned the most through experience. “I have learned in the snow especially to watch out how you brake. That’s the main thing…I’ve 360’d, I’ve hydroplaned,” Rachel Desmond of Agawam told 22News.
This week is all about saving more teen lives so they can build that experience for the future.
Local police departments are raising awareness of this week. South Hadley police said they educate teens throughout the year, such as with this driving course before prom.