MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - In an effort to boost awareness of teen driver safety issues, Gov. Robert Bentley has proclaimed Oct. 16-22 as National Teen Driver Safety Week in Alabama.
State agencies are working toward increased teen driver safety in Alabama, where 96 teens died in motor vehicle crashes in 2010.
Alabama in 2010 saw 12 fewer teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes, down from 108 in 2009. Officials say the decrease in fatalities can be attributed to Alabama's graduated driver license law, public awareness, driver education courses, seat belt use and tough law enforcement patrols as well as other safety initiatives.
A total of 17,841 teens were involved in motor vehicle crashes across the state in 2010 with 5,940 injured.
Gov. Bentley, along with the Alabama Departments of Transportation, Education, Economic Development and Community Affairs, Public Health, and Public Safety are urging teens and their parents to focus on safe driving behavior when behind the wheel.
Most teen-related motor vehicle crashes are caused by inexperience and immaturity, speed, distracted driving (cell phone use, texting, loud music, other teen passengers, etc.), drowsy driving, nighttime driving, and alcohol/drug impaired driving. The lack of seat belt use is major contributor to injuries and deaths.
"We need to continue to educate our children on the dangers of distracted driving," said Transportation Director John Cooper. "They need to be reminded every time they get behind the wheel that driving is serious business. Paying attention to the road and other vehicles is a crucial part of safe driving. We also need to lead by example and show teens how to drive responsibly."
Congress established national Teen Driver Safety Week in 2007 in response to the more than 5,000 teens that died in teen driver-related crashes on U.S. roads in 2006.
For information on National Teen Driver Safety Week, visit ALDOT's Web site at www.dot.state.al.us