Last night I attended a Driver's Ed school program from my 16 year old son. It's a program called:
"DON'T DRIVE STUPID"
Their theme for 2012 is "Zero Fatality: A goal we can all live with." here in Utah. I only wish they had this program when my three oldest were still in high school. It was an eye-popper for me as a mother because I have been so careless when my three oldest children began driving. Because I've always thought it could never happen to me.
A few years ago, we headed out to California for a family reunion. My father-in-law asked if I could drive him on their Astro van to pick something up from a friend's house. I drove and one of my young son was laying down on the back seat sleeping, tired from our drive the previous night from Utah.
We stopped at a red light. As our light turned green, I stepped on the pedal to go and at the corner of my eye, I saw a big fancy black truck coming from my left with the driver engaging on talking on his cell phone with his eyes looking down searching for something and not even looking up at his light to see that it no longer is red.
I already knew what was coming, so I stomped on my gas pedal to speed up knowing that he will hit the back of our van and at the same time aware that my son's head is towards the oncoming truck's way. I succeeded in speeding up for him to hit only the very back of our Astro van towards the backlight. Luckily we had witnesses that stopped to testify that he ran a red light. But the BANG of that crash vibrates in my head even until now. This was years ago when cell phones just started to come out.
There were a few videos showed and statistics used to show us parents and students how important it is that we drive carefully and safely. Because not only do we put our own life in jeopardy, but also others around us.
5 Behaviors that are hazardous to drivers:
1. Drowsy Driving: Just as dangerous as drunk driving. Get off the road
2. Distracted Driving: Deadly and against the law. Texting and talking on the cell phone while driving.
(23 times more likely to be in a crash then drunk driving)
3. Aggressive Driving: Speeding, road rage and tailgating. Getting angry and driving angry.
4. Impaired Driving: Under the influence of alcohol and drugs either over the counter or illegally.
Here in Utah do not tolerate alcohol whatsoever. Zero tolerance. Controlled substances also.
5. Seatbelts save lives: It's the law to put on your seatbelt. If you're the driver, you have to make sure and it's your responsibility to make sure everyone is buckled up in your car.
"YOU PLAY STUPID GAMES, YOU WIN STUPID PRIZES"
There are 7% of teen drivers in Utah and 22% of accidents are teenagers. They are inexperience behind the wheel. As parents we can help by:
1. Be involved
2. Know the laws
3. Set the Example
Every six years, 4000 soldiers die. 40,000 teens between the age of 15-19 dies of car accidents.
The crashes that they showed on the videos could have been avoided, had the drivers were responsible, attentive and careful.
It may seem impossible to reach the goal of "Zero Fatality" here in Utah. But with a program like this going on and enlightening both parents and students, the impossible may just become possible.
Linking up with Shell's pour your heart out Wednesday.